The Boxer.

(Part two)

By George Gardner (UK)

With contributions from LW Prichard. (USA)

Two weeks drifted lazily by. I could hardly believe what had happened - that Ed Hillman, ex-bum and total hunk that he was, had become my devoted lover. It was a dream come true although it had been a rough passage for both of us. Ed continued to live in his apartment out in The Bronx and I had spent almost the entire fortnight there with him. It was so special, being together like that. He’d go off to work at seven AM but he’d always leave me out a bowl of cereal, the kettle would be hot and there would be a tea bag in my mug. Left to my own devices I seldom ate breakfast but Ed firmly believed that this was bad for me and had set about improving my eating habits. I’d get up about seven thirty and finish off making the tea, then I’d sit down and sleepily eat my cereal without the thought ever once crossing my mind to simply pour the stuff back into its box. While I ate I would dream of what had gone before and what we might find laid before us in time to come – and it wasn’t all concerned with sex. We’d sit, curled up together on the aged couch, and talk or watch an old film on the ancient colour TV or even just sit in silent communion, one with the other, as the city hummed around us.

I was usually home first in the evening because Ed insisted on working all the hours he could get to help pay for our new start on the other side of the Atlantic. He’d already opened himself a bank account and the cheque he had received from his bout with Crawford was safely lodged therein. He wouldn’t touch that money, no matter how much I’d tried to persuade him that he should spend at least some of it on himself. It was for our future, he had said emphatically, and that was that! Ed was desperately trying to show me that he was just as committed to a future together as I was but it wasn’t necessary at all, I just had to look into his eyes and I knew that he was.

My contract had only about six weeks left to run by that time so the day of our crossing The Pond was not far off. Ed had applied for his passport and we had enquired about work permits and the like for the UK. After a time he would be allowed to apply for British Citizenship but there are strict rules and “I want to live with my gay lover” isn’t acceptable as a reason for wanting to stay just yet.

It was Thursday and I’d just got back to Ed’s place after a very tedious meeting when there was a knock on the door. I went to the door and there before me stood a small, middle aged woman. Something about her eyes struck me as terribly familiar.

“I’m sorry to trouble you,” she said quietly. “I heard Ed Hillman lives here?”

Then I knew what it was about her eyes – they were the same eyes that looked back at me from the face of the man I loved.

“Mrs. Hillman?” I asked, staring at her incredulously.

“That’d be me, yes,” she said.

“Come in. Please?” I said. “He should be home any time.”

  I sat her down and I went into the tiny kitchen to put the kettle on.

“Sorry,” I said as I rejoined her. “I’m Jack MacKenzie.”

“You live here with him?” she asked, her eyes, so uncannily like his, watching and weighing me as we spoke.

I wasn’t sure what to say to her. Ed hadn’t seen his mother for nearly eight years. I knew he had looked for her once but how would he react now?

“Some of the time,” I said. “We’re good friends.”

“That’s nice, that he has a friend,” she said. “You’d be Scots by the sound of you?”

“I am,” I said, quite surprised that she’d recognised the distinction and had not referred to me as “Scotch” either. Anyone from the UK is usually “English” to our American cousins.

“My grandpa was a Scot, mister MacKenzie,” she said. “He came over here in nineteen ten from someplace called Helensboro’.”

“Helensburgh, yes I know it,” I said

“You known Ed for long, mister Mackenzie?”

“About a year,” I said. ”Just call me Jack. Please.”

I’d had exactly the same problem with Ed.

“How’s he doin’?”

“He’s fine,” I said. “God, he’s going to be surprised!”

“He’ll have told you how we lost touch?”

I nodded.

“I looked for him, Jack,” she said sadly. “I really an’ truly did look for him. He’s my son, my little boy, but I guess maybe he didn’t want to be found. Then they flattened the building where we lived and me’n his dad moved out of town. Ed senior died last fall so I came back here and I’ve been looking for Ed for about nine, ten months now.”

“Well, you’ve found him, Mrs. Hillman.”

“You can call me Moira,” she said with a little smile. “See? I even got a Scottish name.”

I excused myself and went to make her a cup of coffee. My stomach was in knots with excitement.

“So, what does he do?” She asked when I returned. “I guess he must have a job to keep this place.”

“He loads trucks for Good Deal over in Brooklyn,” I said. “He works really hard.”

“An’ does he box, Jack?” Her eyes bored into me.

“He had a go, Moira,” I said. “He keeps up with his training but I don’t think he wants to pursue it seriously now.”

“Did he get hurt?”

I nodded again. It still made me flinch to think of the state he had been in after the bout with Crawford.

“He always wanted that,” she said wistfully. “He was boxing crazy when he was a kid but his dad was dead set against him. Ed senior boxed in the Marine Corps, Jack - even won a championship once - but he got hurt real bad in one bout an’ he lost his hearing in one ear an’ it affected his balance. They made him leave the corps on a medical discharge an’ that broke him up. The Corps was his whole life ‘til then an’ it meant he never was able to get a decent job after. I went out to work but it was hard for us.”

She paused briefly and sipped her coffee.

“When Ed junior started showin’ an interest in boxing his dad just freaked. He never told our boy that he’d boxed, I guess because he figured that’d only make him keener. He was scared for our son, Jack - nothin’ more. Ed never understood that an’ then, one day, they had this big fight over Ed’s school grades an’ him spendin’ too much time at the gym. His dad threw the VCR an’ all the boxing tapes in the trash an’ then, when the boy came home later, he went crazy an’ he started mouthin’ off at his dad an’ threatenin’ him. Before I could get between them, they were layin’ into each other an’ Ed junior ended up KO’d on the floor. They had the same temper an’ the same stubborn streak, Jack”

It wasn’t quite the way Ed had told the story but he’d been a lot younger then and I knew all about stubborn.

“They never got on after that,” she continued sadly. “Then, one day, Ed just upped an’ left an’ I haven’t seen hide ‘r hair of him since. His dad never got over it but he wouldn’t go lookin’ for him neither - but it broke his heart. I knew that.”

“I think it probably broke Ed’s heart, too,” I said. “But I have to warn you, he still resents what – what he thinks his father did to him.”

“He hates his guts, if he’s his father’s son, Jack, but maybe I can set that right.

I heard a key being pushed into the lock of the front door. Ed was home. Moira stood up nervously and together we watched as the door swung open.”

“Yo, big guy! I sure hope you’re hor…..” He stopped just in time and his face froze. He stood as still as a statue and I saw his eyes mist over.

“Mom?” he said, so quietly it almost couldn’t be heard.

Tears were pouring down his mother’s cheeks and she just stood there, helplessly gazing at her errant son.

In a flash Ed strode across the room and threw his arms around her, burying his head in her shoulder. They were both weeping, each trying to tell the other how much they’d been missed between their sobs of joy. I retreated to the kitchen and left them to it. I decided I’d make dinner for them and then go back to my own place and let them have their re-union in peace.
I prepared some vegetables and I’d just started on some lean pork chops when Ed came into the kitchen. His face was still wet with tears but he was smiling.

“I bet that shook you a bit,” I said with a grin.

“Yeah,” he said sheepishly. “I guess we need some tissue in there.”

I handed him the roll off the work top – it was either that or toilet paper.

“Have you told her about….. ?” I asked.

“’Bout you’n’me?” he said. “Damn right I have, buddy. I ain’t ashamed of that, Jack.”

“I wasn’t suggesting that you were,” I said. “How’d she take it?”

“She took it,” he said with a shrug.

“Good enough.”

“Whatcha doin’?”

“I’m making dinner - your mum will stay for dinner, won’t she?”

“Sure, I guess.”

“I’ll fix the food and then I’ll push off and leave you and your mum to catch up.”

Ed shook his head firmly and looked up into my face.

“You stay,” he said firmly. “You’re part of my life now, Jack. I want you to stay.”

“Okay,” I said quietly.

“Anyways you can make sure I don’t leave nothin’ out,” he added with a grin.

So we ate and we talked. I let them do most of the talking between themselves but I’d speak up when asked. Moira had been a little stunned by the revelation that Ed and I were gay – and no-one could have blamed her for that – but she was infinitely more concerned by what had happened to her son before he’d met me than after. Ed showed her the scars on his abdomen and she cried again.

“So anyways,” he concluded. “One night I’m sittin’ in the rain, like bums do, when this guy here comes up to me an’ asks me if I want a burger or somethin’. He picked me right out of the gutter an’ he set me back on my feet an’ he knew I’d got nothin’ to give back, mom. He took me in exac’ly as the washed-up derelict I was an’ he put a roof over me an’ he gave me back the will to be a man again because he made me feel maybe I was worth somethin’ after all. I love him, mom. I love him every way there is to love him an’ he loves me just the same. I ain’t gonna say I’m sorry if you can’t accept that ’cos I ain’t sorry, mom and I ain’t ashamed of how I feel or for what we do in bed.”

Moira Hillman gazed at her son, her eyes shining brightly through a mist of tears.

“I’m so proud of you,” she said quietly. “Oh, Ed, I’m so proud. What you’ve been through and what you’ve done since you met Jack here. It don’t matter to me if you’re gay. Okay, maybe it is a little weird but you never was much of a one for taking the easy route; if you’n this guy here are happy then I’m happy for you. You’re all grown up, Ed Hillman, you do what you know is right an’ you’ll be okay.”

They were so alike in some ways, Ed and his mother. She stayed ‘til it was nearly midnight and then she got ready to leave.

“You remember now,” I said. “You come and see us in Scotland whenever you want.”

“I might just do that, Jack,” she said. “I guess maybe I ain’t much of a one for travel but maybe I will.”

“Yeah and we’ll come back an’ see you, too,” Ed promised. “I swear, mom.”

“You do that, son,” she said taking his hands. ”We lost too much time, Ed.”

He put his arms around her and buried his head in her shoulder.

“I missed you, mom,” he whispered.

She kissed him gently and smiled.

“Yeah, I guess maybe the apartment was a little quiet after you left,” she said with a wicked twinkle in her eye. “I never stopped  thinkin’ about you, Ed an’ you were in my prayers every night.”

We took our leave of each other and then I turned out the lights and Ed and I curled up with each other on the couch in the warm darkness.

“Are you okay, Ed?” I asked as he settled himself closer in to me.

“I never knew my dad had boxed,” he said wistfully.

“I suppose you didn’t know a lot of things.”

“I didn’t, Jack – but I was just a kid.”

I put my arms around him and held him tightly.

“She’s a nice woman, your mum,” I said.

“Yeah, she’s great,” he agreed.

“We can always stay here, if you’d rather.”

“Well, like she said, Jack,” he sighed,” I’m all grown up now. I know what’s right an’ where I need to be.”

I let my head fall until it rested on his.

“I love you, Ed.”

“An’ I love you jus’ the same, Jack.”

I felt his hand slip down until it rested on my hip. He raised his face to mine in the dim glow which filtered through the window from the lights in the street below. Slowly our lips came together and we kissed gently. Ed’s hand moved over and I felt him squeeze my crotch. He hadn’t initiated our love-making since that first time. He’d always provoked me into making the initial moves but after that he’d always joined in with all the passion in his soul. That night, though, he took the lead. His hand slid up under my shirt and he gently urged me to lie down on my back. Ed stretched out beside me and, with his other hand, he unbuttoned my shirt and pushed it away from my chest. He leant over me and I felt his tongue delicately begin to tease my right nipple. My cock began to rise rapidly as he worked and I reached over and firmly grasped his where it strained against his clothing. Ed moaned softly and he moved up to kiss me again, deeper this time and with the rising tide of desire surging from his soul and into mine.

“Jeez, I love it when you touch me like that,” he whispered.

I responded by gently kneading his balls as he began to unfasten my trousers. He was trembling as he always was at the start. I felt him push down my zip and then his hand was inside, stroking and squeezing, as he sent my spirit soaring on the wings of passion. I sat up and lifted his tee-shirt over his head. The pale skin of his chest glowed in the dim light. The front of the old, faded blue jeans he wore left no doubt that he wanted me as badly as I did him. He stood up slowly and the magnificent bulge in his crotch was then scant inches from my face. I put my hands on his hips and drew him closer until I could bury my face in the wonderfully scented denim. Ed worked hard and the aroma of his toil mixed with the acrid tang of his arousal sent great sparks of pure sexual energy surging through every nerve fibre in my yearning flesh. Ed stroked my hair gently and just allowed me to wallow in his maleness.

I sat back a little and undid his belt. Ed clasped his hands behind his neck and stood straight up, his legs slightly apart, allowing me free access to his body. There he was, standing in front of me, totally trusting that I would do him no harm, prepared to let me do whatever I willed with him. A shiny drop of heady fluid seeped through the old denim and a small dark spot spread around the head of Ed’s cock where it showed in stark relief against the faded grey-blue of his jeans. I unfastened the stud at the waist and drew down his zip. A wave of man musk slammed into my nostrils and I felt my cock jerk inside my underpants as my own pre-come welled into them. I let Ed’s jeans fall to the floor and now he stood before me in just those tight white briefs which he now habitually wore. I moved in again and kissed him all around his balls and along the shaft of his rigid cock. The scent of him made my senses reel and a thundering wave of sheer lust washed me away on its breaking crest. I yanked down the front of the briefs and roughly grabbed his cock, shoving the foreskin back as far is it would go. The head was shiny and slick and he inhaled sharply as I engulfed him in my eager mouth. I ran my tongue all around that pulsing cock head, savouring every drop of the nectar that was now seeping copiously from its end. I gently kneaded and squeezed his balls as he thrust gently against me. I knew he was close and I knew I wanted him to come - for his wonderful cock to leap in my mouth and for my beloved Ed to empty himself into the warm darkness of my throat. He didn’t resist me. I felt the muscles in his groin tighten and his hands came down on my head and he began to pull me in against his forward thrusts. Ed breathed harder and harder, his grip on my head tightening, and then he tensed. His cock went to the back of my throat and, with a soft cry of relief from his lips, I felt the hot jets of his orgasm spurting into my waiting mouth.

Ed held on to my head and let me drain him dry. I kept him in my mouth until I had thoroughly cleaned his still hard cock then, when I was done, he pulled gently away from me and knelt down, pushing me over on to my back as he did so. His lips came down on mine and his hand went inside my trousers again, finding my straining member in its tight white restraints and seizing it firmly in his strong and gentle grasp. He pulled back on my shaft, forcing the head out of its fleshy shelter and into contact with the slick wet cotton of my briefs. It was more than enough to put me over the edge and Ed knew it as he sealed his lips with mine again and stroked my bursting cock firmly as it reared up against the bonds of Calvin. As the first great contraction built in my flesh, Ed pressed his cheek against mine and I felt his hot breath on my ear.

“Go for it, Jack,” he breathed. ”Come on, fella – shoot in those shorts for me.”

My cock felt like it would explode as the tension rose ever higher but, at last, I felt the shattering climax approach. I seized Ed in my arms as the first mighty jet of release erupted from my cock and soaked into my briefs. Again and again it let fly and I knew that this was something the like of which I had never experienced before.

“Go on, Jack,” Ed continued to whisper. “Gimme it all, guy. I want all you got.”

I sank back, drained by the sheer power of that awesome release.

“You’ve had it all,” I panted. “Bloody hell, Ed! What did you do to me?”

“Just showin’ you I can be just as hot as any limey doctor can,” he said with a smug little chuckle. “An’ your suit pants are gonna need to go to the dry cleaners.”

“To hell with them!” I said. “So, you reckon you’re in competition with Lew, do you?”

“No competition there, buddy,“ he said. “You are mine!”

“Do I get a round two then?”

“Hey, I went five with Crawford,” he said with a little laugh. “You’re just some scrawny office type guy. I reckon I could go all night wit’ you.”

“Oh yeah?”


It was a long and energetic night but I kept up with him through it all. It must have been all that cereal he’d made me eat.
The time flew past after that. Ed’s mother came to see us twice more before we were due to leave for Scotland. It seemed quite strange to me that Ed showed no inclination to stay in New York now that he had been reunited with her - and I would have stayed with him quite gladly if he had – but he remained as committed, as he had been from that first day, to our living in Scotland. Moira’s reaction to the news of our impending departure was also strange. I would have thought that she would have been devastated to have found Ed only to lose him again so soon. Then, two nights before we were due to fly out she came to the apartment again.

“Ed’s not home yet,” I said as I let her in. “This is his last shift so he should be home soon.”

“It was you I came to see, Jack,” she said as she sat down.

She looked tired and drawn and her face was paler than it had seemed before.

“Is something wrong?” I asked.

“You could say that, yes,” she said. “I’m dying, Jack. I got cancer.”

I sank into the chair opposite hers.

“I didn’t come here for sympathy or pity,” she continued. “I’ve known for more’n a year that I was going to die an’ that’s why I wanted to find my boy so bad.”

“God, I’m so sorry,” I said. “I’ll talk to Ed, Moira and we’ll stay – of course we will.”

“No - you will not,” she said her voice stiff with resolve as her eyes bored into me. “You take Ed an’ you go. I’ve seen him now an’ I know he’s just fine. He don’t need me, Jack, not any more.”

“Yes, but surely…. .”

“No!” She said emphatically. ”He does not need to watch me die. Don’t you think he’s been through enough already?”

“Which was hardly your fault, Moira.”

“Maybe,” she said with a shrug, “and it ain’t his that I got cancer, is it?”

I couldn’t think of anything to say to her.

“Okay, you take my son an’ you take real good care of him, Jack MacKenzie. I don’t want you tellin’ him that I’m sick, d’you hear? I got somewhere to go where I’ll be took care of so you don’t need to worry over that. Once I’m gone they’ll get in touch with you an’ I would take it as a favour if you’d be the one to tell Ed when the time comes.”

I was still unable to find any words so I just nodded my assent.

“Good,” she said. “I don’t know too much about you, except for what Ed’s tol’ me, but you seem a decent enough guy. He says he loves you an’ that’s good enough for me so just you be sure you take real good care of him. Real good, Jack, or so help me I’ll come back an’ I’ll haunt your ass for the rest of your days. Okay?”

 I nodded again and she nodded back. Obviously we had made an agreement and I would have to respect her wishes.

“So, you makin’ coffee or what? She said with a little smile.

I kept her secret. It worried me more than a little that this was denying Ed his chance, even his right, to help and comfort her in her last days but she would have none of it. I tried to console myself with the thought that it was none of my business, what transpired between Ed and his mother, but it provided little in the way of comfort and I continued to feel guilty about, in a way, deceiving him.

When it finally came time for Ed and I to leave America there was, of course, a tearful farewell between Ed and his mother. In spite of the fact that I was really looking forward to going home the poignancy of their parting touched my heart and made me feel quite sad. Lost for so long, found and then lost again in so short a time – how Moira Hillman felt I couldn’t begin to imagine. Ed was very quiet as we waited for the cab which would take us to the airport and I didn’t have to be a genius to know what he was thinking.

“It’s not too late, Ed,” I said gently.

He looked up from where he was sitting on the battered old couch and he smiled thinly at me.

“Jack, it was too late for me the day an’ hour I laid eyes on you,” he said.

I sat down beside him and he leant heavily against me and laid his head on my shoulder.

“This is how it should be,” he went on. ”You’n’me, Jack.”

I let my head rest on his and I put my arm round him.

“I know,” I said.

Ed and I were late for our flight. The traffic had been dreadful, even for New York, and the cab driver’s language would’ve curdled milk as he found, one after another, that all his little shortcuts and diversions were equally snarled up. We made it by the skin of our teeth but we had to run all the way to check in at the airport and I’m not as fit as Ed. We got aboard the plane and found our seats in Club Class. On that I had insisted.

I hate flying. It's noisy and cramped and I hate it. When you travel alone you never know who you’re going to end up sitting beside until it’s too late. The nutters and terminal chatterers never show their true colours until you’re strapped in and have no avenue of escape. Whenever I can’t avoid taking to the air I always carry my portable CD-player, some of my favourite relaxing discs - including some of the old Goon Shows - a bottle of water and a giant bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate in my hand luggage. If I have to face Death then I at least want to be having a moderately good time when He comes for me

“You sure you got enough candy in there?” Ed asked as I wrestled the bar out of my bag.’

“I hope so,” I said. “Having the chocolate to munch on helps to keep my mind off crashing into the Atlantic!”

An evil grin spread across Ed’s face.

“Well now,” he said, “I guess I might have somethin’ here you’d like to munch even better than candy.”

I walked right into it.

“What?” I asked.

The grin spread even wider and he very suggestively squeezed his crotch.

“You git!” I chuckled. “I can just see myself arriving outside the Pearly Gates with your dick in my mouth!”

I was happy, though. Ed was coming to terms with himself and the fact that he could joke about being queer now was a fair indication that he would be fine.

The flight was uneventful and we both slept for a large part of it. Ed’s head rested against my shoulder and that gentle contact was more comfort to me than any amount of chocolate – or body parts.

We arrived at Prestwick on a grey, cold and wet November day. The wind out of the north east had an icy edge which tried its best to cut us in two. We walked out of the terminal and Ed took his symbolic first breath of the air of my homeland.

“Welcome to Scotland, Ed.” I said quietly.

“I’m glad to be here,” he replied.

I felt his arm go around my shoulders and I slipped my arm around his.

“Shit, Jack, I’m scared,” he said. “So fuckin’ scared.”

“I am, too,” I said.

“I ain’t sorry though, buddy – not one damn bit.”

“We’ll be okay, Ed, I promise.”

“I know that,” he said giving me a tight squeeze. ”My mom told me.”

We caught the train to Glasgow and then we took a taxi to my home. The flat I lived in then was part of a converted red sandstone tenement block but I had more or less decided before we left America that it wasn’t going to be our home. A new start should be just that. Ed had given up everything he knew to be with me and I could do no less for him.

“Wow!” Ed breathed as we went inside and I switched on the light. “How high is that ceiling?”

“About twelve feet, I think,” I said.

I looked around at all my familiar things. Things I had acquired through the years and all of which had some sort of significance for me and were indicators to my past. Then I looked at the single suitcase which contained the sum total of Ed’s possessions. I put my arms round him and held him close to me. The enormity of what he had done to be with me finally hit home.

“What is it, Jack?” He asked softly, his arms going around my waist.

“I know exactly what I have to do, Ed,” I whispered. “We have to start again - right from scratch. It has to be a whole new beginning.”

“Say what?” He asked.

“All this crap,” I said. ”This place. It’s all mine, Ed – all of it. It would never be ours, not really ours. We can’t stay here.”

“Why? You reckon maybe I’d resent it or somethin’ like?”

“You might.”

He sighed and drew me tighter against himself.

“Yeah, I can see how you might think that,” he sighed. “Maybe you’re right, Jack.”

“You gave up your whole life to be here with me,” I said. “So I’m giving all this lot up, too, Ed. You and I will make a new life for ourselves and we’ll do it together.”

Ed chuckled softly.

“Yeah, like what I gave up was the life of Reilly,” he said. “I’m here because I love you, Jack – there ain’t no other reason than that.”

“I love you so much, Ed,” I whispered. “So very, very much.”

We were both pretty exhausted from the flight so we just left all our stuff in a pile on the living room floor. I took Ed by the hand and led him through to my bedroom. My housekeeper had done her job and there was fresh linen on the bed and I knew there would also be clean, soft towels in the bathroom. Ed and I undressed each other and then, together, we got under the shower. We washed each other in the warm and soothing spray and then we got dried and finally we fell on to my bed.

“An’ now I am gonna kiss you, Jack MacKenzie,” Ed said, his eyes blazing with emotion. “An’ this time it is for love an’ for sex an’ for all those other things but, more’n ever now, it’s for you bein’ Jack and me bein’ Ed and for you’n’me bein’ together. I love you, Jack – more than I’ll ever be able to say in words – but I swear, buddy, I’ve never loved anybody or anything the way I love you.”

Ed and I made love, long and gently, into the small hours of the next morning. If I’d had any doubts about our relationship then they were firmly laid to rest that night. We slept late and when we woke up we made love again as a bitter winter wind moaned and sighed around the building. We got up about midday mostly because we were both starving. Ed looked out of the window at the grey, rain soaked and wind blown street below.

“It looks different,” he said. “It ain’t like New York at all.”

“Will you miss it, Ed?”

“Some, yeah,” he sighed. “But I’ll never regret bein’ here wit’ you.”

“I hope you won’t,” I said.

“So, you makin’ food or what?”

And so the flat would go on the market, complete with furniture and contents. I would keep only those things that were most personal to me or had come to me down through my family. Where they will go after me is anyone’s guess. Ed got himself a job working with youngsters who had drink and drug problems and he loved it. I was surprised, and I really should not heave been, that Ed would have taken such a course. He knew only too well the consequences of alcohol and drugs abuse. I had reached out to him and helped him and now he wanted to help others. He was very closely monitored, of course, as he’d been honest and told his employers that he was gay. Ed could be honest in a way that was totally disarming. In his place I doubt that I would have tolerated, with Ed’s equanimity, the extra supervision with the implied assumption that there was some risk to the youngsters. Sadly, even in this the twenty-first century, there are still those who cling to tired old prejudices and stereotypes which should have been allowed a quiet death long ago.

Just before Christmas we found the place that would become our new home. It was secluded and quiet and completely run down but it was perfect for Ed and I and we fell in love with it the very first time we saw it. It had belonged to an elderly lady who had lived in it for all of her eighty-eight years. The flat in Glasgow went on sale and was bought within a week and Ed and I moved into the house, near Alexandria in Dunbartonshire, two days before Christmas. We had practically no furniture, the house had no central heating and the electricity supply tended to trip out every hour or so but we were home and it was truly our home. The large kitchen was the warmest place in the house with its old Aga and the only windows in the place which closed properly. That was where we spent our first Christmas Eve together, cuddled up snug and warm on the mattress which was the only part of the bedroom furniture which had been delivered before everything shut down for the Christmas holiday. Ed had ventured into Dumbarton on a shopping trip and we did, in fact, have the turkey and everything we’d need for a proper Christmas dinner. He’d also brought back a little tree, some tinsel and a box of candles. In the gentle flickering light of the candles I couldn’t help thinking of the dwarfs’ kitchen in Snow White. Little coloured sparks flitted across he ceiling and walls where the candlelight scattered off the tinsel on the tiny tree My prince had surely come and I was happier than I had ever been in my entire life.

Ed propped himself up on one elbow and looked down at me.

“Whatcha thinkin’ about?” He asked, letting his fingers play gently amongst the hairs on my chest.

“Nothing, really,” I said, taking his hand. “I was just enjoying the moment, Ed.”

“Yeah? On a mattress on the floor of a house wit’ no electric an’ no furniture? Y’ can’t even see outa the windows for the vegetation an’, I have to tell ya, Jack, the bathroom kinda makes you wanna go behind a tree instead.”

“Yes, but what’s actually wrong with it?” I asked with a giggle.

Ed leant down and kissed me gently.

“Nothin’ at all, Jack,” he said.

“Poor old soul,” I said. “I suppose she just couldn’t cope with the size of this place.”

“It’s kinda weird when you think on it – that she lived here longer’n you’n’me have been alive.”

“Anyway, it doesn’t matter about the state of the place,” I said gazing up into his deep, caring eyes. “We’ll fix it, Ed. I don’t give a shit so long as you’re here with me.”

Ed laid his head down on my breast and slipped his arm up by my side and his hand under my shoulder.

“Hold me, Jack,” he whispered.

I put my arms round him and held him tightly.

“You okay?” I asked.

“You bet,” he said softly. “Just sometimes I think maybe I’m gonna wake up an it’s all been a dream.”

“The same goes for me,” I whispered.

“I love you so much, Jack.”

“I love you, too, Ed.”

I felt a questing hand brush my crotch as he turned his head towards me. I slid my hand down on to his backside and he smiled at me in the candlelight.

“Merry Christmas, Jack,” he said.

And so Christmas came and went. As the new year began so too did the massive task of refurbishing our house. Ed and I took on most of the work ourselves and it proved to be a very steep learning curve for us. We also had our respective jobs to go to as we also had to eat and service the mortgage. Even in its dilapidated state the house, by the time we were finished with it, still cost more than two and a half times what the sale of my flat had brought in. The garden was a nightmare in a class of its own. Ed and I spent an entire weekend, in the cold, wind and rain, just hacking down enough of it to be able to see out of the downstairs windows. The phone was installed after only three missed appointments and one near stand-up fight with an engineer whose idea of customer relations appeared to involve an accomplished sullen-ness and the making of as much mess and noise as possible. He was actually, physically, quite a good looking guy but his manner quite spoiled the effect. I phoned the number Moira had entrusted to me and passed on our new number to her.

“How’s he settling over there?” she asked.

“He’s fine, Moira,” I said. “How are you?”

“Oh, I’m hangin’ in here, Jack,” she said. “I guess maybe I still might get to make that trip over there.”

“He’d love that,” I said. “We both would.”

“You ain’t told him….. ?”

“No. I promised, Moira – I won’t tell him.”

“You’re a good man, Jack.”

After I’d hung up I went and sat by the Aga for a while. Ed was at work and my thoughts dwelt with his mother, that brave and lovely woman who had entrusted her only child, her son Ed, into my care. I dreaded the day when the call would come and I’d have to tell him.

Slowly everything began to come together and our home grew around us like a cocoon as we restored the house to fully habitable condition. Ed hadn’t been exaggerating about the state of the bathroom and we were both very relieved, in more ways than one, when the whole lot had been ripped out and the new suite installed. We did retain the old brass taps, however, and I discovered that I had a hitherto undiscovered knack for plumbing in the process.

Then, in late February, another contract came up which required me to go abroad again. It was only for a few weeks and it would take me no further than Belgium but I really did not want to go. I’d never been parted from Ed for long since that first night in The Bronx.

“Hey, I’ll be fine,” Ed said, hugging me tightly. “I got plenty to do here an’ it ain’t as if I can’t take care of myself, Jack.”

“I know all that,” I said irritably. “I just don’t want to go, Ed. I don’t want to leave you.”

He stood back and looked into my eyes.

“Don’t you trust me, Jack?”

“What d’you mean?”

“Well, maybe you think I’ll get a tad lonesome, yeah?” He said. “Maybe you’re thinkin’ I’ll go out and maybe find myself a bit of ‘company’ while you’re away? Maybe take off back to The States?”

“Oh, don’t be so fucking silly!” I snapped.

“Yeah?” He said with a little smile. ”You gonna tell me the thought ain’t crossed your mind?”

I couldn’t because it had. I smiled sheepishly at him.

“I’m sorry, Ed.”

“Jack we ain’t been together a year yet, buddy – not like we are now. We still got stuff to learn.”

“I do trust you,” I said.

“That’s good, Jack,” he said gently. “That’s great, because all that I am and all that I have to give is yours alone, buddy, and that includes my dick.”

I laughed and I dragged him into a crushing embrace. He’d still slip into “uptown” occasionally, when it suited him, and it always made me so proud to remember the tremendous effort he’d put into improving his reading and writing skills as well as his determination to be able to speak our common language “properly”.

“You look after yourself,” I growled. “And try not to burn the house down.”

He smacked me playfully on the rear as I walked out of the door and then he helped me to carry my bags to the car. We kissed each other goodbye and then I got into the car and drove away. I was missing him before I even got to the end of the track which led up to the house from the main road.

Fortunately the business I had to do was quite absorbing and the time passed more quickly than I had anticipated. I met Lew in Brussels just before I went home and we had dinner and a few drinks together.

“Told you so,” he said smugly as I brought him up to date. “I knew the fella was in love with you.”

“You were right about something else, too, Doc,” I said awkwardly. “I don’t think I can have sex with you any more, my friend. It feels wrong now. I’m sorry.”

Lew reached over and ruffled my hair affectionately.

“My little Jack,” he said with a thin smile. “Did I not tell you that as well? Ed is a very lucky fella and I hope he knows it.”

“Lew, you’re still my best friend and I’ll always love you to bits,” I said. “Please believe that.”

“Of course I believe you,” he said.

“Will you come and visit us in Scotland?”

“If you think that’s wise.” He said.

“Look, Lew, I love Ed more than I’ve ever loved anyone but he’s not going to dictate to me who I can and can’t have as a friend. I knew you long before I knew him, for God’s sake.”

“You have changed, Jack,” Lew said with a sigh. “You seem more alive now than I’ve seen you for a long time. I’m so happy for you.”

We went back to his hotel afterwards and I did go up to his room with him and I did have a drink with him and I did give my oldest and dearest friend a great big hug and a kiss before I left but that was all. Lew respected my decision and he didn’t try to change my mind. True, my cock did get hard as we hugged and I was tempted but I took care of that myself in my own room and I thought of Ed as I did it.

Soon enough I was on my way home. In the preceding week or so I’d gotten the impression that something was going on at the house – something which Ed was keeping to himself - and I was getting quite annoyed as I drove out from Glasgow. Ed was being mysterious and he was too bloody good at it. I hadn’t seen him for nearly eight weeks and all I wanted was to be home and in his arms. All he wanted, it seemed, was to wind me up.

Spring was well under way as I left the city behind and my thoughts drifted to the awesome task which we faced with the garden of the house. The previous owner had allowed the plant life a completely free rein and the whole thing resembled a huge thicket more than anything else. Most of the tangled mass seemed to have either thorns, the ability to sting or be capable of emitting the most unspeakable odours when disturbed. Ed had bought a book on gardening but that was as far as it had gone and I’d voiced serious doubts that, being a city boy, he’d ever go near the garden and I’d also teased him about getting lost in it and having to be rescued. Ed had taken to Scotland like a duck to water, however, and so, it seemed, had Scotland taken to him.

A little later I turned off the main road and drove up the narrow track to our home - to call it a drive at that time would have been totally inaccurate . It was just starting to get dark as I shut the car in the garage and tramped towards the house. Something was wrong. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at first but there was something very different about the place. A grubby figure came round the corner of the house pushing a wheelbarrow. He saw me and the barrow shafts dropped out of his hands as Ed ran to meet me.


"Jack!" He said with a huge smile as he stopped just in front of me.

I held out my hands to him and he fell into my arms. I held him tightly and stroked his hair.

"I’ve missed you, Ed," I said quietly. "I’ve so missed you."

 "You think I haven’t missed you, too?" He said. "Shit, Jack, I’ve missed you so much it hurt."

"So why all the mystery and wind-ups?"

Ed stood back a little and grinned at me.

"That is on account of I have been one busy boy and I have a big surprise for you," he said, his grin growing wider.

I noted that he was wearing very grubby shorts, an equally mucky tee-shirt and heavy boots on his feet.

"What’ve you been up to?" I asked.

"Come take a look," He said taking my hand and leading me towards the back of the house.

As we rounded the corner I could hardly believe what I saw. Although the sun was low in the sky I could still plainly see the vast difference there was in the garden. Ed put his hand on my shoulder and looked at me.

"So what d’you think?" he asked.

"I can’t believe it," I said incredulously. "You did that?"

"I surely did, Jack. All by myself."

I looked at him and I smiled.

"Well, you showed me, Ed," I said wryly. "You said you could do it and you have."

"Yeah, well, a guy has to do what a guy has to do," he said.

"I’m sorry," I said quietly. "I shouldn’t have doubted you, Ed."

"Hey, that’s all forgotten, Jack," he said soothingly. “Mostly,” he added mischievously.

"Have you really missed me?"

"You just let me get cleaned up and I’ll show you," he said with a warm smile.

"Why wait?" I said.

"Yeah, the hell with it! We can both clean up later."

"Or tomorrow."

"Whatever," Ed said with a grin. "I said it before, you are one horny guy, Jack."

I looked him up and down.

"And so are you," I said. "I love the boots!"

Ed’s eyes blazed suddenly and he seized my hand and dragged me into the house.

“Yeah, okay big guy,” he said leaning his gorgeous backside on the kitchen table. “I’m hot an’ horny – so whatcha gonna do about it?”

He spread his strong legs wider apart and I saw his cock begin to rise inside his shorts. I felt my own surge into life as my burning blood forced it erect inside my underwear.

I strode over to Ed and threw my arms around him again. Our lips met and a great arc of passion leapt between us as our souls renewed themselves from each other. I threw off my jacket and all but ripped my shirt from my body. I wrenched Ed’s tee-shirt over his head and then our bodies crashed together in a fury of mutual desire. Ed smelled wonderfully of man, hot and sweaty, and the tang of testosterone stung in my eager nostrils. I reached down and grabbed his cock and squeezed it roughly. Ed’s hands went down on my backside and drew me in tighter against him. I pushed him on to his back on top of the table and I stood between his legs. The front of his shorts was already darkening around the head of his cock. I stroked it gently a couple of times and watched as more of the clear fluid oozed into the grubby blue material. I pulled the shorts down and beheld, then, the sight I so craved. There before me was Ed’s cock, sheathed in its sweaty cotton restraints and pressing upwards against the glistening wet area where his pre-come made the white cotton shiny and semi-transparent. The briefs were also quite grubby from his labours and this I found an added bonus. I leant across Ed’s torso and pinned his hands behind his head. He looked deep into my eyes and I felt him thrust up against me. Our lips met again and again as the pent-up desire born of our separation seared our flesh with its raging fire. Ed fought against me to sit up and then he unfastened my trousers and let them fall to the floor. I kicked off my shoes and stepped out of them. I managed to yank Ed’s shorts off over his boots and then I went down on top of him again. Ed grabbed my head between his work-roughened hands and pulled it down until my lips met his. I felt his tongue probe between my teeth and I gave myself up to him. He rolled us over until he was on top and then he straddled me, kneeling on the table top and smiling down on me. Very slowly and gently he pulled down my briefs and set my cock free. He took it in his hand and stroked it slowly and tenderly. I pulled down the front of his briefs and released him and then I sat up until I could kiss him again. My legs hung over the edge of the large table with Ed knelt across them. I took his straining manhood in my hand and stroked it as he stroked mine. We kept our strokes slow and gentle, dragging out to he very last our flaming desire for release.

“Go, Jack,” Ed breathed, “Come on, big guy – you gimme all you got in there.”

That always worked on me, when he spoke like that. I felt my climax building to its shattering release and I sealed my lips with his.

“That’s it,” he encouraged between kisses. “Come on fella.”

“I’m there,” I said through gritted teeth.

“Me too,” he growled. “Oh jeez, Jack!

The awesome force of our dammed up passion was set free. I felt Ed’s hot semen splash on to my chest and abdomen and my own spattered him as the shattering climax boiled through our flesh. In the farthest, deepest depths of my heart and soul Ed’s name was picked up and carried on angel voices. As the seething fire began to die I felt him take me in his arms and my willing lips met his again and again. I hadn’t done with him, though. There was still fire in me.

Ed stood up on the table top and nimbly jumped down on to the floor. I sat up and gabbed him before he could move away.

“Where d’you think you’re going, fella,” I said, mimicking his accent.

“Oh yeah?” he said with a grin. “You reckon you want some more?”

“I know I want some more,” I said.

I stood up and turned him around until he could perch on the edge of the table again. I pulled his briefs back up over his semi-erect cock and then I pulled my own up, too. That done, I knelt down and buried my face in his man-scented crotch. Ed moaned softly and ruffled my hair as I worked on him through the musky cotton. I felt a booted foot gently but firmly press into my crotch as I began to work my way down Ed’s well-muscled leg, kissing and caressing. I held his ankle and allowed him to continue to grind into my cock with his boot. As he did that I began to unlace them. One and then the other fell to the floor as I pulled them from his feet. I yanked off his socks and then I stood up before him.

“You should go to Europe more often,” he said with a chuckle.

“And you should work in the garden more often,” I growled.

“An’ here was me thinkin’ you liked sweet smellin’ Limey doctors better,” he said with a laugh.

“You smell like a man,” I whispered in his ear. “Strong, sweaty, horny man.”

Ed pulled himself tight against me and rested his head on my shoulder.

“You smell like Jack,” he said quietly. “That’ll do it for me every time.”

I took his hand and led him upstairs into the bathroom. I turned on the shower and then I drew him with me under the warm, tingling spray. As the soothing water cascaded over us I gathered Ed into my arms again and held him gently, rocking him in my embrace like a precious child. Ed clung on to me and I knew I was home.

Spring passed into early summer and the garden began to really take shape. I came to love the time Ed and I spent out there as we reclaimed what had once been a very beautiful garden from the chaos it had become. We even found a sundial standing on a stone plinth at the centre of what had once been a small sunken garden at the far end of the lawn at the back of the house. There was also a dry stone wall which marked the boundary of our property once we’d cleared the brambles and elder. We had to get someone in to repair that properly as neither Ed nor I could get the hang of it and the attempts we had made usually ended up in more damage to the wall and severely crushed toes or fingers. I was allowed to do a bit of digging and planting, under strict supervision, but, mostly, Ed confined me to the hard labour. I found I quite enjoyed the physical work and the exercise did me no harm either. It also tended to make me extremely horny as well.

Then Ed decided we needed a water feature. There was a deep depression in the ground near the centre of what had been the front lawn and it might well have once been a fish pond. Now it was just a hole but Ed got a glint in his eye and pond planning began.

“Whatcha think?” He asked one Sunday morning as he thrust the plan of Pond Mark III between me and my Sunday Post.

“It looks like a map of Loch Lomond,” I said dryly.

“You think it’s too much?”

I looked up at him and I took his hand in mine.

“What do you think?” I asked.

“I kinda like this one,” he said smiling down at me. “I really thought about it this time.”

“Then we’ll do it,” I said. “I’ll have muscles like a navvy by the time we’re done here.”

“You are kinda hunkier than you was when we started,” he said. “An’ anyways it’s doin’ you good an’ I get a real good look at your butt while we’re workin’ out here.”

“Oh you do, do you?” I said with a grin.

“Yeah, an’ don’t you try tellin’ me your eyes ain’t on my ass, Jack – I know you, guy.”

I stood up and pulled him into a tight hug.

“D’you have a problem with that?” I asked.

“I got no problem wit’ that, no,” he chuckled. “Hey, I like to look at your butt an’ I guess I like it that you like to look at mine.”

“I like to look at all of you, Ed,” I whispered. “Every inch of you.”

He snuggled in closer against me and then he raised his face to mine and he kissed me gently and warmly.

 “Same goes for me,” he said, “but there are a couple’a inches I kinda like best of all.”

 We went out into the front garden and I surveyed the hole properly – I’d never paid much attention to it until now. I looked at Ed’s plan and then back at the hole again. Actually, he hadn’t been too over-ambitious this time. With the hole more or less dug most of the heaviest work was done. It would need clearing and a little bit of extending but I could see what Ed had in mind for it.

 “Okay, when do we start?” I said.

 “Y’ain’t doin nothin’ special right now, are ya?”

 There was no point in trying to avoid it; Ed could wind me round his little finger when it suited him. I went into the house and changed into my navvying gear while Ed went to fetch the tools. It took us four weeks, working in most of our spare time and weekends, to complete the pond. Ed’s boundless enthusiasm and energy for the project were infectious and I had even done some of the work on my own. By the end of June the pond was ready to be filled. Using my new-found plumbing skills I had installed an outdoor tap for the purpose and on a hot Saturday morning the hose was connected and the filling began.

“That’s going to take a while,” I observed.

 “Okay, so we can go and get some plants’n stuff while it’s filling.”

 <>So we went off to the garden centre and returned an hour or so later with a car full of plants, gravel and other stuff Ed had assured me was essential. Fish would be installed later, I was informed, when the basic ecology of the pond had been established. He’d obviously been reading again. Ed loved to read but he never seemed to just do it for pleasure. The books he read were almost always on practical subjects and he absorbed the knowledge in them like a sponge. In spite of what he thought of himself, Ed was by no means stupid or lacking in intelligence. He equated his lack of education with being “dumb” but it was patently obvious to anyone that Ed Hillman was nothing of the sort. He is probably the brightest and most intelligent guy I have ever met and I, to this day, have the sneaking suspicion that he’s a damn sight brighter than I am.

 The pond was only about a third full by the time we got back but Ed got straight into lowering the plants for the deeper reaches into the rising water. They were all in basket-like containers and would soon settle in their new home at the bottom of the pond. I sat and watched him for a while and then an evil notion sprang into my head. I crept up behind him and I was just about to push him into the water when he spun around, grabbed my wrists and, like a stone from a slingshot, hurled me into the pond. I struggled to my feet in the cool water and blinked my surprise up into his grinning face.

 “You gotta be quiet on your feet if you wanna get one over on me, fella,” he laughed.

 “I thought I was,” I said.

 “Nah!” He snorted.

 “Well, give me a hand to get out,” I said.

 “Oh yeah? An’ have you pull me in there, too? I do not think so!”

I glowered at him as I dragged myself out of the now waist-deep water. He was not getting away with this. I feigned a slip as I stepped back on to the grass. When Ed instinctively reached out to steady me I grabbed him in by the arm and pulled him into a crushing embrace.

 “Gotcha, yank,” I said as I twisted round, tumbling us both into the pond.

 The water was cool but not cold. We surfaced together, spluttering and laughing.

 “Limey bastard!” Ed chuckled, trying to get the water out of his ears.

 “That’ll teach you,” I said.

Ed squinted up at me.

 “You’re kinda horny when you’re wet,” he said.

I moved in close to him and looked into his eyes. I could see the rising fire of passion burning in their depths and I felt my cock begin to stiffen. Ed put his arms around me and our lips met gently in silent communion. I felt his hands slide down on to my buttocks and then Ed drew me tightly against himself. I could feel that he was as aroused as I was as his hard manhood pressed against my own. I slipped my right hand between us and gripped his cock firmly through his shorts. Ed moaned softly and I felt him begin to unfasten my jeans. He pushed them down away from my loins and then he grabbed my crotch and squeezed quite hard.

 “Now you get yours,” he said with an evil grin.

 He took a deep breath and then he vanished beneath the water. I felt my briefs being yanked down and then I almost fainted as Ed engulfed my cock in the warmth of his mouth. He stayed down there for what seemed an age, his busy tongue exploring and teasing my tingling flesh. Suddenly he let go and a second later he burst through the surface of the pond, spluttering and gasping for air. I didn’t wait; I dropped to my knees and allowed the cool water to close over me. I reached out and groped for Ed. I felt the water move against my face and then Ed was there in my grasp. I pulled down his shorts and briefs in one go and I managed to get him into my mouth without swallowing too much of the pond water. The water made a strange rushing sound in my ears as I moved my head back and forth, sliding my lips over the shaft of Ed’s rampant cock. I held my breath for as long as I could, exhaling a little at a time through my nose, but at last I had to go up for air. Ed caught me in his arms as I surfaced and then he threw himself up and backwards and I felt his legs lock around my waist. I held on to him as we both toppled back into the water. His lips sealed against mine as we rolled over and over in the deepening water. We broke into the sunlight again, half floating, and I felt Ed begin to seriously work on my cock with his hand. I took his in my hand and began to stroke it furiously under the water. It took considerably more effort than otherwise but I was a lot stronger and fitter than I had ever been in my life before. As I neared my release, Ed sensed it approaching and he ducked under the water again.

 Once more I was engulfed in his eager mouth and in seconds I was emptying myself into his welcoming warmth. I pulled him up from under the surface and, taking a massive lungful of air, I dove down to my task. Ed thrust gently against me as I worked on him and I could taste his pre-come as it leaked out of him and into my eager mouth. Just as I thought I would have to go up for air I felt him tense. Although my lungs were beginning to feel like they might burst I kept at my work. Seconds later I felt a warm jet erupt into my throat. I held on until I was as sure as I could be that he was done and then I exploded out of the water and back into the air, gasping for breath. I felt Ed take my hand and I allowed myself to float on my back as I got my breath back. We stood up, still hand in hand.

 “You want wet, you get wet,” Ed said through a huge grin.

 “Is there anything you can’t do?” I panted. “Gardening, pond building ….. underwater blow jobs?”

 “One thing, Jack,” he said, his young face becoming serious. “I can’t imagine my life without you, buddy.”

 I felt tears welling up in my eyes. Ed put his arms round me and I felt him gently stroke my back.

 “The same goes for me”, I whispered.

 Ed pulled up his shorts and scrambled out of the water. He held out his hand to me and helped me out and then, arms around each other, we dripped our way up to the house to get changed. That took rather a long time and we really ought to have turned the hose off first. It was a glorious summer that year. Ed and I spent a lot of time wandering in the countryside around our home and on the banks of Loch Lomond. I was saddened to find that “Maid of the Loch”, the paddle steamer which used to ply the length and breadth of the loch, was no longer in service. I was cheered to learn that she is by no means done for as a resolute band of supporters have taken her on and are now undertaking the painstaking task of restoring her. I had only sailed on her once, when I was very young, but that is one of the most vivid memories of my childhood. One day, with luck, I will sail on her again. Ed and I both will. Then, in September, the call I had been dreading came. Moira had rung her son two weeks previously to say she was going away for a while. I knew what that meant and I kept the promise I had made to her although it was the most difficult thing I had ever had to do – to keep the truth from Ed. I booked two seats on the earliest flight I could get to New York, packed a couple of bags for the two of us and then I sat down to wait for Ed to come home.

He was early and it was clear from his face that he knew that something was wrong.

 “You okay, Jack,” he asked. “I got a bad feelin’ so I came home early.”

 “I’m okay,” I said.

 “Jeez, I feel kinda stoopid now.”

 “There is something, Ed, “ I went on. “It just isn’t to do with me.”

 “My mom?”

  I nodded.

 Ed sat down and he buried his head in his hands for a moment.

 “Okay, Jack, let me have it,” he said, his quiet eyes filled with sadness.

 I went and sat beside him.

 “She died, Ed,” I said as gently as I could.

 “How?” He asked, his voice reduced to almost a whisper.

 “She had cancer.”

 “She didn’t tell me, Jack,” he said, his voice breaking now. “I swear to God I didn’t know. I’d’ve gone to her if I’d’a known.”

 “I know you would, Ed,” I said soothingly. “But I have to tell you that I did know.”

 “Whatcha tellin’ me, Jack,” he said incredulously. “You knew my mom was sick an’ you didn’t tell me.”

 “I didn’t tell you because I promised her I wouldn’t, Ed. She made me swear that I wouldn’t tell you until ….. .”

 His eyes bored angrily into mine.

 “You should’a tol’ me, Jack. I had a right to know.”

 “You did, yes,” I admitted, “but I promised her, Ed. I couldn’t break my word.”

 “How long’ve you known?”

 “Since before we left America. She came to see me two nights before we were due to leave and she told me she’d been diagnosed a year before. I wanted to tell you, Ed – I told her we would stay but she wouldn’t have it. She told me she didn’t want you to have to watch her die and she made me promise that I wouldn’t tell you that she was ill.”

 Ed leant heavily against me and I put my arm around him. He let his head rest down on my shoulder and I pressed my cheek gently against his hair.

 “I guess I shouldn’t be mad at you, Jack,” he sighed. “You done what she wanted.”

 “You be as mad as you like, Ed,” I said. “I didn’t want to keep it from you.”

 “No,” he said firmly. “I shouldn’t be mad atcha, Jack. My mom trusted you the way I trust you an’ you kept your word to her. I should be grateful to you for that.”

 “It wasn’t easy, Ed.”

 “No, I guess it was not.”

 “I also promised her I’d look after you,” I said.

 “Yeah, she made me promise that too,” he said snuggling in closer. “She liked you, Jack.”

 “I liked her, too. She was a lovely woman, Ed.”

 “I gotta go over there and see she’s took care of properly.”

 “I know,” I said. “I booked us on a flight that leaves at eight tomorrow morning.”

 He was quiet for a minute.

 “Jack, I have to do this on my own,” he said. “I need to do this myself. Okay?”

 I was a bit surprised but I wasn’t about to argue with him.

 “Are you sure?”

 “No, but it’s what I have to do.”

So Ed went back to New York and I stayed at home. It was home for us now – for both of us – and there was not the slightest doubt in my mind that Ed would come back. I knew he would return as surely as he knew that I’d be here waiting for him. There was just one thing that remained to be sorted out.

 A week after he left Ed phoned me from The States.

 “How’s it going?” I asked him.

“I’m okay,” he said across the vastness of the Atlantic. “You okay, Jack?”

 “I miss you.”

 I heard him sigh.

 “Yeah,” he said softly. ”Yeah, I know how that feels, Jack. I feel like a part a’ me is gone.”

 “I’m here, Ed.”

 “An’ I am here an’ that is the problem, ain’t it?” He said wryly.

“When are you coming back?”

 “I’ll be home day after tomorrow.”

 “I’ll meet you at the airport.”

 “Nah. You stay home, buddy. Just wait for me there.”


 “Yeah, I’m sure.”

 And so, that Friday night, I sat on the settee in our living room knowing that Ed, my Ed, would be home with me before Saturday dawned. I knew his flight was due to land at eleven thirty so I wasn’t expecting him much before half past midnight. As it happened, I fell asleep. I’d had a busy day and I was quite tired by the time I’d gotten home and fed myself. It had been a beautiful mild evening and I’d sat out by our pond for a while watching the insects dancing on the shining surface. There were still no fish in residence but a couple of frogs and newts had taken up squatters’ rights. I awoke at the sound of the front door being opened. I glanced at the clock and it showed that it was almost two AM. I got to my feet and sleepily made my way into the hall. Ed was there, smiling at me in the dim light. I held out my arms to him and he walked into my embrace.

“I’m glad you’re home,” I whispered, tears stinging in my eyes. “God, I’ve missed you, Ed.”

 “Same here,” he said, his whole frame shaking with emotion.

 Our lips met and our souls intertwined as the love we felt for each other bound our hearts ever tighter together. I took Ed by the hand and we went through into the kitchen. Ed sat down at the table as I switched on the kettle and set about making us a hot drink.

 “Jack?” Ed said softly.

 I turned and looked at him. His quiet, soft eyes shone up at me from his handsome young face.

 “Thanks,” he said.

 I smiled and shook my head at him.

 “I did what she wanted, Ed.”

 “I know that,” he said quietly. “You been there for me ever since that night we first met, buddy. I went an’ I took a look around our old neighbourhood – hey, I even looked up Cy an’ he says hi – an’ I remembered it all just as if it had only happened yesterday. You remember that night we met in the park after …. ?”

 “After you got pissed?”


 “Of course I do.”

 “I knew then, Jack. I knew I’d always be with you. I sunk as low as I could go when I hit out at you, buddy, an’ then you came an’ you picked me right up again.”

 “And then we fell out over that bloody rent boy,” I said, sitting down opposite him.

 “Yeah, an’ we got through that, too.”

 “I’ll never forget that fight you had with Crawford,” I said. “You looked awful afterwards.”

 “Hey, I felt awful,” he said with a little smile. “You went through it all for me, Jack. All the shit I brought into your life an’ you still wanted me.”

 “You brought a lot of good into my life as well, Ed,” I said. “You made me happy. I knew we had a chance, my friend, and I was right. I have no regrets and I’d do it all again if I had to.”

 Ed grinned at me.

 “So, you feelin’ horny, Jack, or you been ‘takin’ care’ of yourself while I been away?”

 “I haven’t touched it,” I said innocently.

 “No? I ain’t touched mine either – ‘cept when I had to pee.”

 Ed stood up and he slowly began to undress himself. I watched, transfixed, as he stripped himself down to the tight white briefs he always wore. There was no mistaking that he was horny; his cock thrust up inside the briefs, straining against the thin cotton. The area around the head was already wet with his pre-come and I felt my own cock begin to engorge as the scent of him hit my nostrils. Ed jumped nimbly up on to the table and came and knelt in front of me. He bent forward and kissed me warmly. I let my hands range down on to his backside and I pulled him towards me, making him raise himself enough for me to bury my face in his crotch. I knew he was on the verge of release and I didn’t try to prolong things. I pulled down the front of his briefs and let him slip into my eager mouth.                           

  Ed curled himself over me as I worked on him and I heard him whispering my name over and over again as his hands caressed my back. In a few moments he tensed and I heard a great rumbling growl rise form his throat as hot semen spurted into my throat. As he climaxed I felt my own cock jerk up inside my briefs and suddenly I was coming too, joining him in the outrush of pent-up passion which scorched our poor flesh with its awesome flame. Ed drew back from me and I reluctantly let him fall from my lips. He smiled down at me and then our lips were sealed together again as our love renewed itself.

“Yeah, you’re horny,” he said with a wicked grin.

 “I came in my pants,” I said, letting him see the wet patch on the front of my jeans. “I haven’t done that since I was a kid.”

 “Jeez, you have missed me!” He laughed as he pulled his briefs back over his softening cock.

 “Oh I haven’t started yet,” I said. “I’ll make the drinks - you check the buildings insurance.”

 “The buildings insurance?” He asked, puzzled for a moment before he caught up.

 The wicked grin spread even wider across his face as he realised what I was getting at.

 “Oh yeah!” He said, standing up on the table and striking a dramatic pose. “The roof is comin’ off this joint tonight!”

 It didn’t but I’m pretty sure at least a couple of slates got loosened.

 We slept fairly late but about eleven Ed started urging me to get up and get dressed. He got up and showered and then he dressed himself smartly – unheard of on a Saturday morning – and went downstairs. He was up to something again. I dragged myself into the shower and let the refreshing spray bring me to as near to full wakefulness as was possible after the night we’d just had. Ed seemed to thrive on these long nights of passion – and I did, too, so long as I didn’t have to get up too early the next morning.  When I finally appeared downstairs dressed in jogging pants and an old tee-shirt I was turned around and hustled back upstairs to get changed into something ‘more respectable’. I grumbled a lot but there was no point in arguing with him so I went and changed into a comfortable pair of slacks and a polo shirt. This met with his approval.

 “Are you going to tell me what’s going on?” I demanded as he busied himself in the kitchen.

 Ed could cook and he could cook very well – he just didn’t terribly often. That Saturday he was in full chef mode and I got turfed out of the kitchen for ‘gettin’ in my hair alla’ time!’. I went and sat out in the back garden and watched the birds as there was nothing much else to do. About one o’clock I heard a car come up the drive and I was just about to go and see who it was when the kitchen door opened and Ed came out.

 “You wanna go an’ see who that is?” he said. “I got too much on the go here.”

 I got up and wandered around to the front of the house. There was a large red Audi parked by the garage and there was someone wrestling a small suitcase out from amongst a large golf bag and other clutter in the boot. As he bent over I recognised the posterior – I couldn’t help but recognise it as I had admired it for many, many years. It was Lew. My heart leapt for joy at seeing him. I had seen him on only that one occasion in Belgium since Ed and I had come to Scotland and I hadn’t realised until that moment just how much I’d missed him. I ran down the path and stopped a few feet away from him, just looking.

 “Hello, little Jack,” he said with a huge smile.

 I went to him and threw my arms around him. I was in tears with happiness as he picked me up and held me tightly. He didn’t try to kiss me but I put my arms around his neck and gave him a big warm kiss right on the lips.

 “What are you doing here?” I asked as we grinned happily at each other.

 “Oh, I was just up in Glasgow for a conference,” he said dismissively. “Thought I’d drop in on you.”

 “My God, Lew, I’m pleased to see you,” I said.

 “I’ve missed you, too, little Jack.”

 “I don’t know how Ed’s going to take seeing you.” I said. “He just got back from America.”

“Only one way to find out.”

 We walked up to the house. As we approached the front door Ed came out and stood barring our way. His face was impassive as we got closer.

 “Well if it ain’t the limey doctor,” he said.

 “Ed,” Lew said evenly.

 “Hey, thanks for comin’, doc,” Ed said, his face breaking into a smile. He held out his hand to Lew who took it and shook it firmly.

 “You guys take five an’ lunch will be ready.”

 I looked from one to the other of a pair of grinning faces.

 “You knew Lew was coming,” I said accusingly.

 “I surely did,” Ed said. “I called him from The States before I flew home an’ I asked him to come up here an’ visit.”

 “And I was only too happy to oblige,” Lew said.

 I ushered Lew into our house and led him into the living room. We sat together on the settee and he smiled broadly at me.

 “Settled in quite happily, hasn’t he,” he said. “You are a very lucky man, Jack. Very lucky.”

 “I know,” I said. “You may be a sad old queer, Lew, but you were right about Ed.”

 I filled him in on what had been happening since last we’d met and then we ate a hearty lunch. Ed had gone all out to make it a big surprise and he had succeeded. The food was excellent and he even cleared up afterwards leaving Lew and I to talk but enough is enough and it soon became apparent that he was leaving us too much to ourselves. I went out into the garden and found him pottering about around the sundial.

 “Thank you, Ed,” I said quietly. “Thank you so much. You don’t know how much this means to me.”

 “Yes I do, Jack,” he said, gripping my arm. “It means as much to you as finding my mom did to me.”

 “Come on in now,” I said. “You should be with me, Ed.”

 He let me lead him into the house and we all sat in the living room. I sat with Ed and Lew sat in the armchair.

 “One thing I want to say,” Ed began. “Lew, I am truly sorry for what I did that night in New York. I was jealous and I was confused but I had no right to try to spoil things for you and Jack. I’m sorry.”

 Lew smiled at us both.

 “It all worked out for the best,” he said. “I knew you loved my little Jack, Ed. You knew it but you didn’t understand and he knew it but he wouldn’t believe. I’m so very happy for the pair of you.”

 “What about you?” I asked. “Have you got anyone?”

 “Yes, actually,” Lew said, his face flushed slightly and he looked down briefly.

 “Serious?” I went on.

 “I think so, yes.”

 “Well spill the beams, fella,” Ed said. “Come on, you got all the lowdown on us.”

 “Well, his name is Karl,” Lew began. “I met him in Berlin a few months ago.”

 He hesitated again.

 “Oh, what the heck!” he said looking directly at me. “He’s twenty-two, he’s a junior doctor and quite the most delightful young fellow I’ve met for an age.”

 “You sly ol’ dog,” Ed said with a grin.

 “Baby snatcher springs to mind,” I said.

 “Can’t imagine what he sees in an old relic like me,” Lew went on wistfully. “I love him to death.”

 I went over and sat down on Lew’s lap. I put my arms round him and I held him tightly.

 “Good for you, doc,” I said. “Be happy.”

 “I intend to try, little Jack,” he said. “This time – before it’s too late.”

 Ed came over and perched on the arm of the chair.

 “You shouldn’t be embarrassed, Lew,” he said. “Just ‘cos you’re a tad older than he is. Look at Jack ’n’ me.”

 “It takes a little getting used to,” Lew said. “Anyway, chaps, we’re setting up home at my place in Wales so you two will have to come and visit.”

 “Count on it,” Ed chuckled. “You owe me one lunch, buddy.”

 “It will be my pleasure, Ed.”

 Ed went off to make some coffee. He seemed quite at ease now with me and Lew and that made me happy. My relationship with Lew had been that one thing that remained to be sorted out between Ed and I and now it had been. Best of all, Ed had made the effort himself – for me.

 “There is just one thing about Karl,” Lew said. “He will insist on wearing those damnable shapeless boxer shorts.”

 “I bought Ed a couple of pairs of briefs just after we met and he never wears anything else now,” I said.

 “As I said, little Jack - you are a very lucky man.”

 Well, there’s no arguing with that. Ed and I have something that is very rare and very special. We have a love which is as solid as the mountains and as deep as the lochs which are the very heart and soul of this land in which we now live. I was born and bred a Scot, Ed was born and bred a New Yorker but this place is now as much his home as it is mine. We care for our tiny corner of Scotland and it, in its turn, will care for us and be our sanctuary for the rest of our lives.


© 2004 George Gardner