Okay, so I guess I should clear something up. I had said that chapter 10 of CTU would be the last, then I asked at the end `To be continued?' I wanted to know if people wanted me to go on or not. Well I've probably had more e-mail in the last month than I had all of last year, all saying that they wanted more. I thank each and every one of you who wrote to me, if I've not got back to you yet, I will as soon as I get a chance.
So, more? But more of what? I have decided to shelve the planned Alex and Dean story for the time being, because I have had more ideas for what you will be soon reading.
CTU book 2 will be slightly different from the first book, in that the story narration will be done not just by Andy, but by Tom and Jamie as well. I hope that you like the new format, if you do you know the address:firstname.lastname@example.org But please remember to put CTU in the subject line or I might not get to read your mail. As for further chapters, I intend to go on for as long as you want me to or for as long as I have ideas for the story, if you have any comments, suggestions or criticisms I would love to hear from you.
Just before I close I would like to recommend some stories that I have really enjoyed reading. I my humble opinion they are the best fiction that I have read in a very long time.
All three are excellent examples of great writing, great plots along with three dimensional characters that you can really get into. If I could write even half as good as the above authors I would be a very happy man.
Now on with the show.
CTU: Book two part 1
I guess it all started from a conversation that I barely remembered happening. I'd been with the RSC for most of the summer and aside from missing Tom, I was having a ball. Sure it was hard work. Most days it was early starts with morning rehearsals, then a matinee performance, then late afternoon rehearsals then the main evenings performance. We were performing several different plays a week and had to keep on top of them, so yeah, we were working hard. But we also played hard as well. Just about any excuse for a party would see the cast and crew kicking it back and hanging loose. Night follows day? Yea let's party!
Well this particular party was one of the biggies, it was late August and the summer run was drawing to a close, so this was a sort of a thank you party from Dudley Hanley and the rest of the bigwigs from the RSC. Black tie, very formal. During cocktails this bloke introduces himself to me, bit snooty, but then I guess that's the type of person the theatre attracts.
"Well I must say young man, you've certainly turned a few heads this season."
"Huh?" I replied.
"I should introduce myself, Simon Hagler, I'm a friend of Dudley's and also on the staff of RADA, how on earth did we miss you? I take it you never auditioned?"
I did audition for the Royal Academy for the Dramatic Arts, before I got on to the university course that I'm on now and failed. I didn't do very well having spent the whole day dealing with the attack of the nerves and didn't bother going back to the following auditions. I related this to Simon who smiled a reassuring smile and said
"Well it happens to the best of us. Pity. Did you think about reapplying?"
"No I didn't. I didn't think it was worth it after I got on to the university course that I'm now on."
"I understand from Dudley that you studied under Daniel Spurn last year. How is Daniel by the way?"
"Oh he's fine. Do you mind me asking how you know all this? If I'm not being too rude."
"You know Daniel didn't make it into RADA either, so that must be living proof that not all this countries finest actors hail from our boards."
I knew this already and it was a great source of comfort to me knowing that someone like Dan who had more or less the same background as me could make it without the training from one of Britain's top arts collage behind him. Getting back to this Simon guy, it totally passed me by that he didn't answer my question about how he knew all about me. I guess he must have had a chat with Dudley or something.
"Well nice to chat to you and if you want a bit of advice, you'd apply for next years intake straight away. Too late for this years of course, as I'm sure you know we only take 32 performing students a year. Pity. Well remember me to Daniel."
I was just about to tell him that Dan was only on staff for a year and that my classes would be taken by someone else next term, but Simon had gone. I thought no more of the conversation.
I was laying on a bed in a cabin of a boat that was sailing along the Italian Riviera. I looked around when I heard Tom's voice, but for some reason I didn't smile at him like I usually did when he entered the room. I was concerned about something, but what? I don't know. It wasn't important, what was important was that we were together. I told him so.
Tom sat down on the bed and said, "Tell me some nice things about Tom MacKay."
"Good things about Tom MacKay? It'll take me sometime.
Tom is Talented,
Tom is Tender,
Tom is beautiful,
Tom is a mystery,
Tom is not a nobody.
Tom has secrets he doesn't want to tell me. And I wish he would.
Tom has nightmares. That's not a good thing.
Tom has someone to love him. That is a good thing.
Hmm, Tom is crushing me.
TOM IS CRUSHING ME!"
I woke up late with a vague feeling that I'd had a strange dream that I was suffocating. My pillow and sheets were soaked through with my sweat, but then that wasn't unusual it was the beginning of September and the summer hadn't yet left us. I looked over to my alarm clock and it quickly dawned on me that I was very late for rehearsals. So late that it wasn't worth going in at all. I'd throw a sickie was the first thought to come to mind, I doubt that it would matter too much, only three more performances and that would be it. Three weeks from now and I'd be back in uni and back with Tom.
I got dressed in just my joggers and a T then went down to the kitchen to grab some breakfast, I just sat down when Errol, one of my flatmates came in and threw an envelope at me.
"Mail time. But then every morning is male time in my world." He sang in a tone that was far too shrill for this time in the morning. "Oh what is it cinnamon buns? Hang over? I've got just the cure."
"Na Errol, just feeling delicate this morning, I think I've gone down with something."
"Honey loaf, you're describing my life, well except the something is usually someone, if you know what I mean. Umm Humm. Anyway, I know someone who is in deep do do with our esteemed director. He wants to see you pronto."
"Oh god." I moaned. "Just one sickie, it's hardly a sacking offence."
"Either way, I wouldn't be sitting where you are right at this moment cup cake."
I was just about to take him to task about his calling me various bakery goods when the phone rang. Errol made a dive for it.
"Hello Hangovers R US, how may we be of service? Oh it's you hot stuff, it must be ooh maybe 12 hours since we last heard your hunky voice. Why yes he is, but if it's some hot phone sex you're after I doubt he'd be able to rise to the occasion, he's being a bit of a Miss cranky pants this morning. Hang on I'll see if he's available."
"Give me that." I said grabbing the phone from Errol, who pouted then turned on his heel and left the room."
<<"Hey Sweetie.">> He said mimicking Errol's mock American high camp voice.
"Don't you start."
<<"You don't sound so good, are you sure you're alright?">>
"I'm okay, I just didn't get a good sleep last night, that's all."
<<"Funnily enough I didn't either, bad dream or something. Anyway I just called to see if you are all set for tomorrow?">>
"You're picking me up at five?"
<<"Right. And we're meeting Lottie and Jamie at seven to check out the houses that they've found.">>
"Yeah I remember."
We carried on chatting, just small talk really, Tom telling me about plans for the big move down south and stuff. I kind of stopped paying attention to what we were saying as I picked up the envelope that Errol had brought in and opened it. It was from RADA.
<<"Earth calling Andy, come in Andy.">>
"Sorry, I got a bit distracted, what were you saying."
<<"Just that I'll speak to you later.">>
"Yeah, right, sorry. Later then."
<<Later. Love you.">>
"Love you back."
I put the phone down and started to read the letter from RADA. It was from that guy Simon that I met at the party the week before. He had written to me to tell me that a place on this year's intake had become free and due to the unusual circumstance rather than re-audition they wanted to offer it to me. An application was with the letter and also a form explaining how to get funding from my local council and student loans.
I believe the phrase is `you could have knocked me down with a feather'. I sat there staring at the letter wondering if this was some sort of joke by one of my fellow cast members or some sort of mistake. It looked real, but I put it out of my mind because the phone went again and this time it was Dudley's secretary calling to let me know that Dudley was expecting me in his office now.
I hot footed it down to the office and was ushered in and offered a cup of tea.
"Well, well, well young man, so nice to see you."
"I'm sorry Dudley, I wasn't feeling too well this morning."
He held his hand up as a sign for me to stop speaking, I was expecting a bollocking from him about not turning up to rehearsals, but he had a smile on his face.
"Dear boy, I'm not bothered about you missing one damn rehearsal, well not this time anyway, just don't let it happen again. What I called you in for is to offer you a proposal."
"Thanks all the same Dudley, but I thought you said I didn't have to blow you for my job at the beginning of the summer."
"Very droll. No, fellatio aside I was about to offer you a permanent place with our company. And before you remind me, I know you're heading back to university in a few weeks, but I would like you to consider other options. You came to us on Daniel's recommendation, your big break if you like, and you've more than proved you have what it takes to be a very fine actor. Now I would like it if you would consider staying with us and learning your craft in a proper environment. A university course is no substitute for the real thing."
I couldn't believe what I was hearing and coming in the same day as that letter from RADA I was totally blown away. Dudley said that he didn't need an answer right away and that I take some time and think about it.
"Tell you what my boy, why don't you take the rest of the day off. Spend some quality time thinking about it."
I left Dudley's office in a complete daze. I really didn't know what to do. Yesterday my life was simple, I was going back to uni, back to my course and back to Tom, now suddenly things seemed complicated. I had no idea what to do.
I wondered the streets of Stratford for a while until I came by the pub that Dan had taken us to on the day of my audition. Then it came to me, the one person who might be able to help me out with this was Dan, he was always the one I could go to if I needed my head sorting out. I pulled my mobile out of my pocket and pressed the speed dial number for Dan's phone.
<<"Hey Andy, how's tricks.">>
"Fine Dan, sorry to call, I hope it's not inconvenient."
<<"It's never inconvenient to talk to my star pupil, I'm resting in my trailer on location at the moment so there's no hassle. What's bugging you?">>
"How did you know that there was something bugging me?"
<<"Just the tone in your voice. So what can I do for you.">>
"I need your advice about some stuff that happened today."
<<"Okay, but maybe this isn't a phone chat that you need, I'd pop up to see you but I'm stuck here for the rest of the day, and off to film in Lancashire tomorrow for the rest of the week. I'm about an hours drive from Stratford, could you come here?">>
"I'd love to, except I don't have a car."
"Ah, yes I was forgetting, we don't trust your driving do we. No matter, I'll send a car for you."
"I can't ask you to do that."
<<"It's really not a problem. You're talking to the star of this film and I've not thrown a melodramatic wobbly all day, I'm sure they're expecting one. Be ready in a hour and a car will be waiting for you at your digs.">>
The summer was drawing to a close and suddenly I was faced with decisions. It wasn't supposed to be this difficult, it was supposed to be clear-cut. Finish up with my assistant researchers job and go back down south to get ready for my second year at university. I was counting down the days until I would be back there mainly because it would mean that Andy and I would be back together for the whole year. As much as I've enjoyed working for the SNP and spending some time in Edinburgh I really missed him. There were quite a few times when I seriously considered throwing the job in just to be back with him.
Now just a couple of weeks before I was due to leave Margaret Geddes, the head of policy, called me into her office and asked me to consider staying, offering me a full time post as a parliamentary researcher. She was so impressed with the way I virtually single-handed ran the research office during the summer that she didn't want to let me go.
"I can see a bright future in politics for you Tom, I would like that future to be with us."
I thanked her for her offer, but went on to say that it would be far more beneficial to me in the long run to complete my degree course. She agreed, but then suggested that if I were to look to transfer up to Edinburgh University she would still like to take me on staff in a part time capacity.
I told her that I'd consider her offer very seriously and let her know soon. That evening I spoke the only people I could think of who could advise me, my parents.
I know that might sound really funny coming from me, after all I had never gone to my parents for advice before, not really. I'd always felt when I was younger that they were too distant or too busy to bother with me. I used to think that's why they sent me away to boarding school, because they were too busy for me. It didn't really occur to me that I was sent there simply because that was the done thing, nothing more than that.
I think what changed was earlier in the year when I told them about Andy and me and the reaction that I got from them. I suppose I didn't expect them to be very forthcoming with their support for me, in fact I expected quite the opposite. Since then I found it very easy to talk to them about things that I would never have troubled them with in the past. Over the summer I grew to know my parents like I never had before.
I remember someone once saying that at the age of sixteen he was aware that his parents knew nothing, and by the age of twenty he was remarkably surprised how much they'd managed to learn in such a short space of time. That quote seemed very pertinent to my feelings towards my parents. Or maybe it my admission to myself that I had finally realised that just perhaps they knew more than I.
My father was disgusted that I should consider staying with the Scottish National Party, he thought it was just a phase that I was going through. Once we got the partisan politics out of the way, he gave me the best advice he could, and that was to look seriously into transferring to Edinburgh. That way I would have best of both worlds, a degree and a foot in the door to do something with that degree.
The fact that they wanted me to go to Edinburgh in the first place wasn't lost on me; they didn't approve of my choice of university. It's funny how things seem to turn out. I had no real interest in politics before, that subject was best left to my father. My brothers had gone into the noble professions of medicine and law, while I was heading nowhere, according to my father.
Somewhere that seemed to change and even though I hadn't been working for my father's party he was suddenly very proud that I, his youngest son, was finding an interest in the family business, so to speak.
My mother just told me to listen to my heart. It was her advice that resonated within me loudest, but first I had to know what my heart was saying.
The week that followed I made some enquiries at Edinburgh University and found that I would have to start over from year one, as the course that I'd been doing wasn't really compatible with their course.
It seemed to me that at every turn there were more questions than there were answers.
All the while I didn't tell Andy about any of this, I didn't want him to think that I was considering anything else other than returning to university. I knew that if I had told him he would have done something stupid like tell me that I should take the job. It's one of those `if you love somebody, set them free' things that he would have done.
The next problem that I faced was one that I knew I couldn't put off much longer. Jamie. He'd run away from home at the start of the summer and had been staying with me. Trouble was that I was due to go back down south and he'd have no where to live up here. Going home wasn't an option for him. His parents had pretty much said that going back home wasn't on unless he had a rethink about his godforsaken ways and staying in the flat wasn't an option either as I was going to rent it out so Andy and I had an income while we were in university.
It's been about a month since Andy went back to Stratford. I'm still staying at Tom's and Lottie was here for a couple of weeks before she moved on. It was great having her around, she's a laugh and totally insane. Tom's been busy at work as usual, you'd think that he'd have a break, I mean it's summer, he'll be back in uni in less than a month. I worry about that guy. Okay, so I know why he's become Mr Workaholic, it stops him from missing Andy. Cute huh? They're like an old married couple those two.
Don't get me wrong, that's great and I for one know how happy they are. It's just that the way I see it, they're only about three years older them me and I know that I don't want to settle down or anything. Okay, so if Mr. Right should turn up that would be great, but what if Mr. Even-Better should come along?
Okay, so I guess by now you've noticed that I'm not exactly the quiet type. I do tend to ramble on a bit. Sorry. Andy says that he's going to buy me a full stop for Christmas. I can't think what he means by that.
Mind you I think I am attracted to the strong silent type. The sort of guy that comes into the café where I work, sits down with a frown on his forehead, not wanting to be noticed. I met this guy there once whom I thought was god's gift. We chatted for ages; well I did the talking he just sat there looking interested. We ended up going back to his place for the night, still not saying a word, nothing. He'd occasionally smile when I said something, but other than that nothing. So we got to his flat and getting down to business. Suddenly out of nowhere I hear this really high pitched sound. I've got this guy's dick in my mouth and I'm thinking `If that's the sound it makes when I suck, I wonder what happens when I blow?' Turns out he was deaf, he took this thing out of his ear and adjusted it then put it back in. Well I guess he wasn't turned on by my stimulating conversation.
Thinking about it, I don't really have a type. There was this guy I met not long after Andy went back to Stratford, just after my seventeenth birthday.
I was walking back home from the Blue moon after finishing my shift. On the way I often see a bunch of skater guys. You know the type, baggy jeans sagging to show at least four inches of boxer shorts, chains hanging from their pockets and all practising their moves on their boards.
Most day's I'd see at least five of them hanging out on the same street corner. Sometimes it was just them and sometimes there was a whole crowd, including what I supposed was their girlfriends. They were all around my age, but I never really went out to make friends with them, after all I'm not into boarding and I doubt that they'd be into the same things as I was and I had made plenty friends in town that were.
I'd finished my shift an hour later than usual, as we had to do a whole load of cleaning. I hate that, but it's got to be done. As I was turning the corner I heard the rumble of board wheels on the pavement, then the sound of a kickback, jump and land. Then crash. I almost got flattened. Knocked off my feet, I fell to the ground. I was just about to have a go at the twat, but I heard a yelp of what must have been real pain. I got up was went up to the guy. I think he was one of the younger guys in the skater crowd, he was probably a head shorter than I was and very skinny. His face, normally what I'd call beautiful was all twisted up in pain. I looked around to see if any of his mates were coming up to help him, but there wasn't a sign of them. He must have been on his own. I bent down towards him.
"Are you all right mate?" I asked.
"Do I look all right?"
He was grabbing his leg and seemed to be in a hell of a lot of pain.
"Can you get up?"
I offered my hand to help him up and he took it. Gently I hoisted him back to his feet; at least it seemed that nothing was broken. He lent his weight on me and I carried him to the railings by a house for him to lean on.
"Cheers mate." He said, "I'm sorry, I didn't see you coming."
"Don't worry mate." I replied. "I think we should get you home, you look like you should get something on those cuts. Do you live far? I'll help you back."
"Leith, I live in Leith. It's a wee bit far to be going just now."
"I'll tell you what, I live just round the corner, come back to mine, we'll get you sorted out and on your way."
"Thanks, that'd be great. I'm really sorry."
I went over to the roadside and grabbed his board then back to give him a hand walking.
After a very slow walk we got back to the flat and I sat Cameron, he told me his name en-route, down. Tom must have been working late as we had the place to ourselves. I went over to the kitchen area and grabbed a glass of juice, then handed it to Cameron and told him I'd be back in a second with some Dettol and stuff. He thanked me again as I climbed the stairs two at a time to the bathroom.
Now I want to point out right here that all I had on my mind was to patch this guy up. I wasn't thinking about anything else, so don't get the wrong idea. Okay, so he was gorgeous, lovely strawberry blond hair, cut short. Sweet blue-green eyes and like I said before a really beautiful face. But like I said I was only thinking about getting Cameron's cuts sorted out.
I got back down as Cameron set his glass down. He was still sitting on the sofa, looking around the flat.
"Nice place you got here, you're folks at work?"
"No, it's a mates pad, he lets me stay here."
"Must be loaded."
"He does all right." I replied, but didn't offer any more information. "Okay I've got the Dettol, roll your sleeve up and we'll get that cut cleaned."
He did as I asked I put some of the anti-septic on some cotton wool and started to clean his cuts. He winced every time the cotton wool touched the wounds. I noticed that his jeans were torn around his knee and I could see blood. I said to him that he should take his jeans off so that I could clean his knee up properly. He sort of objected for a moment, but then looked down at his knee and saw that I was right. He lifted his butt off the sofa enough to slide his baggy jeans down his waist to around his ankles. Sat there just in his boxers my mind thought back to Andy and how he'd have that disgusted look on his face, the one that he used every time he encountered Tom in boxers.
I started applying the Dettol to Cameron's knee and yet again he gritted his teeth with pain. When I finished I asked him how he felt. He replied that he was okay, but his knee still hurt him a bit. I told him that he should leave his jeans off a while and let the air get to the cuts. He thanked me yet again for helping him out. I went back to the kitchen area and got a couple more juices and went back to sit down with him. We started chatting about all sorts of stuff. I was about the same age as him and he was still in school. He was obsessed by skateboarding, and practised every day. The crowd that he hangs with are apparently the best boarder bois around.
He asked if he could use the toilet, I said that it wasn't a problem, except that it was upstairs. I offered to help him up there, an offer that he gratefully accepted. I helped him take his trainers off so that he could removed his jeans properly and then gave him a hand to stand up. He was still limping quite badly, he put his arm over my shoulder for support and I put my arm round his waist to help.
Slowly we climbed the stairs till we reached our destination. As much as I wanted to help him stand while he took a piss (okay, so I lied when I said I wasn't thinking about sex. I'm 17, what do you expect?) I stood outside the bathroom to let him get on with it. When he finished he limped out of the bathroom and I helped him back downstairs. We made it back to the sofa and crashed down on it. My arm that was supporting his waist was still there, so when we fell down on the sofa my hand was trapped under his bum. He made no effort to move up to release me and I made no effort to claim my hand back. After all it felt nice, resting under his backside. I don't know what it was, maybe it was that we were sitting close together, maybe it was like we were in a sort of embrace or something, but I noticed that there was a bulge growing in his boxers. Cameron's eyes followed mine down to his tenting boxers and he blushed bright red.
"Don't worry," I said, sensing his embarrassment. "It's not like I've never seen a hard on before."
"What? Other than your own?"
"Sure, haven't you?"
"Once. My mate Johnny, he was staying round my place one night this summer. He was sleeping in the spare bed in my room and it was a really hot night. He kicked the covers off in his sleep. I couldn't sleep because of the heat and I noticed that in his sleep, Johnny had got a hard on. I'd seen him naked before, like when he stayed round or in school in the showers, but I never saw him or anyone else before with a stiffy."
"So what did you do?"
"What do you mean?" He asked, the question seemed genuine enough, I really think that he didn't know what I meant.
"Didn't you go over and play with it?"
"So you just looked?"
"Didn't you want to know what another guy's dick felt like?"
"I don't know, no, maybe. Why?"
"Because it might be fun." I let what I just said hang in the air for a while the placed my free hand over the bulge in his shorts. He let out a breath, but didn't make any attempt to get away or move my hand off. I started to gently move my hand up and down his cotton covered shaft, he laid back deeper into the sofa and closed his eyes. I slid my fingers into the slit of his shorts and pulled his dick out and continued to caress his shaft.
"Do you like that?"
"Okay, so I'm going to need my other hand back now."
He lifted his butt and released my hand. I got off the sofa, moved his legs slightly apart and took hold of the sides of his shorts. He lifted himself slightly up and in a second I had his shorts off. Like the rest of him, his dick was beautiful, nestled in a trim patch of ginger hair. I decided to go for broke and put my lips around the luscious shaft. Again he let out a moan.
As the moans got louder I felt his whole body tense up until his release. He slumped back down and when I'd drained him of his last drop I let his softening prick out of my mouth. Eventually he opened his eyes and looked straight at me.
"So now you know what my dick feels like, but I've still never felt another guys one before."
"Do you want to do something about that?"
He leaned forward and made a beeline for my jeans button. When he undid it I helped him along by lowering my jeans down to my knees. I was wearing one of the black nylon thongs that Andy left behind. He left quite a lot of his clothes here and said that I was welcome to borrow anything. I of course took him up on the offer, since Andy has a great sense of style, the same sort of taste in clothes as me.
Cameron looked with surprise at my black nylon thong. Or was it at my dick that was dying to escape the tight confines of a nylon pouch?
"What the hell kind of pants are those?"
"Don't tell me you've never seen a thong before?"
"Aye, I mean no, not on a guy before. I know there's girls at school that wear them, but I've never seen a bloke in one before. Doesn't it feel weird, having a bit of string up your bum?"
"No, not really. I guess they take a bit of getting used to but it's worth it. I love wearing sexy underwear."
"I'd never really thought about underwear being sexy before. Not for guys anyway."
"Obviously" I said pointing at his shorts.
He leaned slightly more forward and placed his hands on my arse. With a finger he traced the back strap of my thong all the way down the crack of my butt, then he went back up again. He moved his hands away and very tentatively he placed one on my nylon covered shaft. I thought my prick would burst through its flimsy coverings, luckily it didn't have to. He reached his hand over the waistband and took hold of my cock. He had a really good feel around, like he was getting used to how another guy's dick felt. With his free hand he pulled my thong down to release me balls and then cupped them in his hand. Gradually he began to move his hand up and down the shaft, coating it with my own pre-cum. With the extra lubrication he began to jack me faster, until I too had shot my load. Exhausted I fell back down into the sofa to catch my breath. We must have sat in silence for ages, both still naked from the waist down.
"So was that fun?" I asked.
"Aye! I mean, I've never even thought about with another guy before. I mean, wow. No one's ever made me feel that good before."
"I mean I've only thought about girls when I'm wanking off. I've never even come near to getting one to do that for me. Wow. Jamie, that was like wow." He glanced at his watch and then let out a "Shit!"
"I've got to get going. They'll have the search parties out for me at home."
"Are you feeling any better? How's you knee?"
"Feeling okay, I'll be alright. Oh, my god! If I hadn't crashed into you we'd have never done this. Jamie, I really want to try this again, if it's alright with you."
"Sure, whenever. I'll see you around."
He got up from the sofa, slowly but not in as much pain as before. I got up too and bent down to pick his shorts and jeans up for him. He looked at his shorts and then over to my pouch strewn on the floor.
"Do you wanna do a swap?" I asked.
"Like borrow each other pants? Okay."
"I think you'd look great in a thong, even more sexy then you are."
"Sexy? You think I'm sexy?"
"No ones ever called me sexy before." He said taking my thong off me that I'd just picked up.
"Well you are."
He stepped into the thong and pulled it up into place. He fiddled about a bit with the back strap trying to get comfortable with it.
"You'll get used to it." I was right; his new underwear made him look even sexier then he did before. He got his jeans on while we both made small talk then said goodbye.
I didn't see Cameron again for a week or so. When I did, he was boarding with his gang. Just as I turned that very same corner where we bumped into each other I saw him. He had taken a long run, then jumped off the pavement, doing a 360 turn in the air and landing on his board. As he landed I noticed his shirt fly up and that his jeans were sagging slightly, but this time instead of showing off his boxers, I got a good glimpse of the back of the thong I gave him. As I passed we nodded and smiled hello and I walked on.
The next time I saw him, he was with a smaller group of people including a couple of girls. They weren't skating, just hanging out. It seemed that I wasn't the only one who thought he was gorgeous, as he didn't even notice me go by. He was busy snogging one of the girls.
Sorry, I'm rambling again and maybe you didn't want to know all that. Back to Tom and Andy. The good news is that they'll be back together very soon. The bad news is that when Tom moves out of the flat, so do I. I really don't want to leave Edinburgh, and more to the point I really don't want to go back home.
I've just had the best summer of my life, I've done stuff that I'd never done before, made some great friends, I've been clubbing, I've been getting laid, I've even been to America for a weekend. Though don't tell Tom or Andy about that, they'd go mad if they found out.
I'll give you the long story short version and try to cut out the rambling, if I can. There was this guy who came into the café quite a lot, he was always in a smart suit and looked quite important. I'm guessing he was about 30 to 35. Anyway, I'd always give him a bit of chat as I waited on him, I think he liked that. He'd say stuff like `one day I'll take you away from all this', or `get your passport we're off for a break'. But I thought that it was just him joking about and trying to get me in bed.
So one Friday lunchtime he's in and we're chatting and he says something like that he's off to New York in a couple of hours, did I want to come with? I then reached into my back pocket, pull my passport out and slap it down on the table. He looks at me kind of funny, then pulls his phone out and calls his secretary and gets her to make another reservation in my name. I gave her my details and was told that the tickets would be ready when we got to Heathrow. Half an hour later we're on a flight out of Edinburgh into London, then an hour later we were being seated first class for my first trip to the States.
Nick, the guy who was taking me there said that normally he did the trip by Concorde but we'd have to slum it, as flying supersonic wasn't an option. Apparently they took them out of service or something. Like I knew any different, I was having a ball, getting pissed on Champagne and joining the mile high club. I didn't really get to see much of New York apart from the view from the hotel window and a few hours on Monday morning when Nick had to go for his meeting. He gave me a wad of dollars and told me to get a cab to Fifth Avenue and check out the shops.
Like I've said, I've been having fun and there's no way I'm going back to that small town life. There's no way I'm going back to my parent's house, not now, not ever.
I spoke to Tom about this and begged him to let me stay here, but I knew that wasn't really possible. He was going to let it out for the year and use the money so he and Andy could rent someplace near their university. I had been offered the floor in a friend's flat and a sofa in another's. I was really tempted to go for it until Tom came up with a plan.
He called my mother and she came up to see us. I'd already spoke to her on the phone a while before to tell her that I wasn't going to go back to school after the holidays. We got in to a huge fight and the end of it was that if I wanted to ruin my life I could. So when she came up I think that she was expecting me to beg her to take me back home with her, I'd go back to school and live like everything was normal. She even said as much, because if I were to go back home I'd have to forget about all this homosexual nonsense because they'll be none of that under her roof. Why can't old people say the word `gay'? Why do they have to say things like homosexual? It makes it all sound medical.
This of course started another row, how can I live if I can't be me? We were getting nowhere until Tom stepped in with a plan. He told us that he, Andy and Charlotte were planning to rent a house off campus this year. Being a second year student you don't get to live in the halls of residence and there are only a few houses in the student village, chances are that they're all gone by now anyway. Apparently Lottie's been down there the last week or so and has found a few places for them to look at including a couple with an extra bedroom, so Tom suggested that I could move in with them.
I liked the sound of this, okay it meant that I'd have to leave Edinburgh, but at least I wouldn't have to go back home. My mother liked it as well, she had a very high opinion of Tom, practically raised him while working for his parents. She knew that above all he'd look out for me. Of course she didn't really know that Tom way gay, at least I don't think she did or maybe that would have changed things.
Tom said that he would stump up my part of the rent, my mother wouldn't hear of it and said that she would see to it that I had money in my account for that.
"On one condition."
"Here we go," I said.
I was to enrol into the local school and do my highers, which in England is A' levels. I started to argue, but my mother wouldn't have any of it and it didn't help that Tom was in total agreement with her. Between them they worked out a plan to find a school and have them register Tom as my temporary legal guardian while I'm in full time education.
Big picture, at least I don't have to go back home. Living with Tom, Andy and Lottie is going to be great, even though I have to go to school. I mean how bad could that really be?
After I got off the phone to Dan I headed back to the digs and waited around for the car that he said would come and collect me. I mean how cool is that? I'd love to be able to do that one day, just sit in my trailer and ask people to do stuff for me.
Less than an hour later the doorbell rang, I answered it to a guy in a grey uniform and peak hat.
"Car for Mr Harris?"
"Em yeah, that's me." I replied.
I went back into the house to grab my keys and phone then out on the street I stood there for a second and took in the sight before me. The driver bloke was holding the door open of a white stretch limo. This can't be real. I said to myself. He gestured for me to get in and after I scraped my jaw off the pavement I did. Inside it was like a palace. Huge grey leather seats, in the middle of one side was a bar. I sat down on one of the back seats next to a note with my name on. It read:
Andy, don't fret. The studio provides this car for me and it was only standing idle while I shoot. Help your self to anything you like from the bar. See you soon. Dan. x. PS. If you want to hear a couple of unreleased tracks from John's bands new album press play on the CD player.
(BTW good reader you may remember that I am not supposed to reveal Dan's boyfriends name, what with him being a big pop star and all. I mean it would be really bad if it got out that the lead singer in one of the countries top boy bands was gay and going out with a well known actor. Imagine the headlines in the press.
Can you keep a secret? Yes? So can I. So instead of saying things like `Dan's other half' or `Dan's boyfriend', I figured that I'd call him John. It's a nice generic name and not a million miles from his real name. Oh and in case I need to use it in later chapters the name of his band isn't Diversion, but for the purposes of this story it is).
Well of course I wanted to listen, John's band were one of the countries top boy bands at the moment. And I kind of liked them, not least because I've met John a couple of times when he and Dan popped up to see me on stage in Stratford. He's really cool; none of that `I'm the big star' crap that I'm sure he could get away with.
After the bands tour of the Far East had finished in June they were straight in the studio recording new tracks for an album to be released in the autumn. I don't think I've seen Dan as happy as I had all year as when I saw them together. Despite hectic filming and recording schedules they still managed to spend most of the summer together.
I wondered if that is what the future holds for Tom and me. Being in opposite sides of the country, trying to arrange our diaries so that we could spend a few precious days together. I mean what if I stayed in Stratford? That was at least a couple of hour's drive away from uni and London was just as far if I went to RADA. Then with Tom, if he continues on the politics road after he graduates, he would no doubt end up in Edinburgh or maybe London. I think it was then that I started to realise that our relationship if it were to last the distance was always going to be one of ...
Lost in my train of thought I didn't even notice the time go by and before long the limo had stopped and the driver was holding the door open. I made a mental note to play around with all the buttons on my return journey, somehow that seems the right thing to do when you're in a limo for the first time.
The driver handed me a pass card on a chain that I had to wear round my neck so that I could head off to Dan's trailer without being thrown out by security, then he pointed me off in the right direction. I was not sure what I expected from this trailer, I'd seen some of the ones that the big stars have in Hollywood on TV, but I doubted that Dan's would be anything like on that scale. I sort of pictured a four-berth caravan like the ones my parents hired when we went on holiday to Bognor in the summer.
I was more right first time round, the trailer was massive. I'm surprised that it managed to wind its way round our small country roads to its current location. The door had a star and Dan's name on it, which I'm sure he would have found delightfully tacky. I was just about to knock when the door opened and Dan stepped out, a smile beaming from him.
"Andy, it's so good to see you."
We pulled each other into a warm hug and kissed each other's cheeks.
"It's good to see you too Dan, I'm sorry about calling you earlier. I just needed to bend your ear about something."
"Andy you don't need to ever apologise for calling me, I've said to you before I don't know how many times, I'm here for you. Besides I was hoping to get to see you before you went back to university."
We let go of each other, and then I made some remark about the size of his trailer.
"Isn't it great, come see inside." He grabbed my hand like a kid showing off his new toy and dragged me inside. "Wow." Was just about the best response I could muster, being totally taken aback by the size of it. Inside looked more like a posh hotel room than a caravan. Everything you could imagine was there, plus much more besides. I guess it really pays to be the star of a major budget film.
"See that's the wonderful thing about British cinema being financed by Americans. The studio machine is so used to pandering to the needs of their stars the have no idea that we Brits normally just make do."
Dan showed me to a sofa in the main area, which seemed larger than the front room in my parents flat, then fetched us a couple of drinks. I asked him what he was filming and he went into great detail about the production. He went on to tell me that the main reason he'd spent the best part of the day in his trailer was that there'd been an accident earlier when a stunt went wrong and wrecked a part of the set.
"They wanted to move on to a later scene, get that out of the way then return pretty much to schedule. But it turns out that one of the main actors for that scene wasn't available due to prior commitments. He wasn't due on set until next week. So it's lucky that you called really."
"Eh?" I asked.
"Well, after you rang I had a word with the director, who had been on the phone for the best part of the morning trying to find a replacement who could get here before we loose the light. I told him that I had a friend on his way here who'd be ideal for the part. You've got a couple of hours to spare right?"
"Well yeah, I guess. What about the other guy?"
"His loss. I'm sure they'll find something else for him."
"I don't know."
"Andy, grab every opportunity that comes your way. It's just a few lines, nothing to worry about."
Well of course I agreed. Dan picked up the phone and spoke to someone, the next thing I knew I was signing some paperwork and whisked off to the costume tent for a quick fitting. I know I should have been overwrought, I mean this was the first time I was in front of the cameras but I put that all to the back of my mind and got on with the job. An hour or so later, the scene in the can Dan and I were back in his trailer.
"Pretty good kid, the scene went well. Two takes, not bad at all."
"Cheers Dan, I mean thanks, thanks for everything."
"Like I said Andy, you've got to take every break that comes your way. Having talent in this business isn't everything, it's about being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people. I wouldn't have got where I am today without a few lucky breaks, sure once you've got the breaks that's when the talent kicks in."
"That's kind of what I wanted to talk to you about."
I went on to tell Dan about my letter from RADA and then the offer from Dudley and how I had no idea what to do. Dan sat in silence for a while pondering what I'd just told him, he seemed to be weighing up the pros and cons in his mind before he spoke.
"Okay, firstly I'm so proud of you. I'm not just talking as your former tutor, but as your friend. Secondly, this is all big stuff, but of course you don't need me to point that out to you. I can see why it seems so complicated, so lets whittle it down some. Let's get RADA out of the way."
I laughed and said that he was sore that he didn't get accepted there.
"Not a bit of it you cheeky git. No, personally I don't think RADA is the right place for you for practical reasons. You'd have to move back to London, which would probably mean moving back to your parents while you study there and from what you've told me of your home life there I doubt that you'd want to do that. London digs are bloody expensive and your student loan wouldn't cover it, so you'd have to take a job.
"Trouble is that RADA wont let you take paid acting work during the time you are with them and they'll only let you work if it doesn't interfere with your classes or productions that you're in. In other words unless you're doing the graveyard shift flipping burgers or at the local 24 hour store, you're not going to be able to earn money. It's a bit of a bitch that rule of theirs; not being able to take paid acting work. After all, if you were with RADA that cheque for today's work wouldn't be sitting in your wallet right now."
"Okay, point taken. But it's RADA." I whined in mock desperation.
"I know, but really Andy, you don't need them. To a point Dudley's right, a course is no substitute for the real thing. There are many RADA trained actors who are still waiting for their big break. Just because they've studied at one of the worlds most prestigious drama academies doesn't guarantee them work at the end of it."
"So you think I should take Dudley up on his offer?"
"I didn't say that, although I would give it some serious thought. Dudley would never have offered you the job if he thought for one moment that you weren't right. The Royal Shakespeare Company is world-renowned, if Dudley is offering their training for you then he obviously sees the talent in you that I see. However, I'm not sure if long term it would be the best for you."
"How do you mean?" I asked.
"Well think of it this way, this summer you've gained a lot of theatre experience, you've endured long hours during an extensive run of their full programme. It's been good training for you and I really have to say that it is a very tempting offer. I just don't know if it's the right one for you right now. Personally I'd say that you should stick with university. It's a good course that you're on and you'll gain from it more in the long run. Didn't do me any harm." Dan smiled as he made his last remark and gestured for me to look round his trailer as if to prove a point.
There was a knock on the door and a runner popped his head round the door to inform Dan that he was due on set in fifteen minutes. He acknowledged the guy and turned back to me.
"Seriously Andy, the bright lights can wait a couple of years, you're a talented young actor and they'll be no shortage of offers when you're ready to take them. Trust me, you'll gain more from your course right now, and you'll have the time to have fun that working for the RSC wouldn't allow you."
"I guess you're right. Besides I would have missed Tom like crazy."
"Well exactly. Now Kidder I've got to be elsewhere, you're more than welcome to hang around and watch a pro work his craft."
"Thanks, but I should head back really."
"Okay, I'll walk you to the car."
We left the trailer and headed off to where the limo was parked.
"There was something I wanted to ask you Andy. What are you and Tom up to during your Christmas break?"
"I don't know. Not given it any thought."
"Well if you're not up to much how do you fancy two weeks in Spain?"
"John and I are renting a villa there for the whole of December and we thought that you and Tom might like to join us for a week or two. Just before New Year we're inviting a few friends over for a bit of a celebration. We would really like you and Tom to be there and thought it would be cool if you guys came a week or so before everyone else arrives."
"Sure, I mean, great, yes. Erm what are we celebrating, other than Christmas."
"John and I are having our partnership blessed and we want all our friends there."
"Wow, that's so cool. Yep well count Tom and me in, we'll definitely be up for it.
"I understand that you and Tom are going to be sharing off campus with Charlotte this year."
"Yeah and another friend, Jamie."
"Yes, I met him when John and I caught up with Tom when we were in Edinburgh for the festival. Nice kid."
"Yeah he's cool. Tom mentioned to me that you guys stayed over. It's a shame that I didn't know that you were going I would have postponed my trip up there and we all could have got together."
"Well it was a last minute thing, John and I had a couple of free days and I wanted to check out a production in the festival so I called up Tom who met us at the airport and put us up for the night. It was really kind of him to do that, we'd have had to have booked separate hotel rooms otherwise. You guys have a really nice apartment by the way. Tom told us that he was buying it for both of you."
"Yeah. It is nice."
"But, nothing. I don't know, maybe I kind of feel like he's doing all these great things for me, but I don't have the money to do the same back."
"I seriously doubt that matters to him Andy."
"But it does matter to me. It's like I've missed him so much this summer and I can't wait to see him tomorrow, but I feel like he's been thinking about the future too much or something."
"Well it doesn't hurt to plan. Unless of course you're having second thoughts about him?"
"No, it's not like that. It's just that I wish I could contribute equally that's all. I just don't want him to ever think that I love him because he has money. Does that make any sense?"
"Totally, but as I said I don't think he thinks of your relationship in terms of monetary contribution. But if you want to look at it that way, yes right now the balance is more one sided than the other. But if you think about the future I think you'll be in a financial position to be able to contribute on an equal basis."
"I hope so. I'm sure it will be okay. Thanks."
"Hey, that's what friends are for. Now take my advice and worry not, for the future is bright for the both of you."
We reached the car and I hugged Dan goodbye. He wished me well for my next year and said that he'd call once he's finished filming and maybe we all could get together one weekend. I loved Dan a hell of a lot, not only was he my teacher he was the one person I looked up to and respected. Ever since I joined his class he took me under his wing and somehow I had a feeling that he would always be there for me. Like a true friend.
"Just keeping an eye on my future competition Kidder." He laughed, then we kissed goodbye.
I drove down to Stratford to meet Andy to head off back to university to meet up with Lottie and Jamie. As soon as I saw him all my doubts about what to do regarding staying in Edinburgh or going back to university evaporated. I knew right there and then that I had made the right decision. As we entered our university town it felt like nothing had changed. It was good to be back.
Lottie had arranged for us to view four houses that were possibilities, the landlords or agents were to meet us at times that she set. Lottie pointed out that because we'd left it a bit late in the day there wasn't much choice. The first two I wont even begin to describe; hell holes would be all the information that you need to know. The only thing they had going for them was that they were right by the campus. Roll out of bed, roll in to class.
The third house was further out and a good long walk away from campus; it wasn't bad but only had two bedrooms. So that was out of the question. Lottie said that she'd arranged to see it before she knew that Jamie was staying with us but thought that we might as well keep the appointment, with a possibility of turning the living room into a third bedroom. That turned out not to be an option as the living room and kitchen were all in one.
By the time we got to the fourth house I'd worked Lottie's game out. She'd left the best till last. It was a large detached house on the other side of town to the third one and perhaps a bit further out from campus than I would have liked to be. It was on what looked like a new up market housing estate and by the looks of it, students didn't normally rent there.
This was confirmed when the agent opened the door to us and her jaw dropped. I guess she was expecting a nice middle class family moving out from the city to small town haven. Instead she got four teenagers none of whom looked like they had two pennies to rub together. I guess she didn't notice us pulling up in my new top of the range Supra and I have to admit that I was perhaps dressing down. Just a pair of joggers and a T-shirt. She wasn't to know that I could have easily sold my flat in Edinburgh and bought this place outright if I wanted to. You may remember Andy saying that I had a lucky break with the flat that I was renting and bought it using the money from my trust fund for less than half its market value. If I sold it tomorrow I'd make a tidy profit. But then I don't go in for blatant shows of wealth. It's just not the done thing.
Resigned to doing her job no matter what her personal feelings, she showed us round the house. All be it fairly hurriedly, I'm sure she didn't want to waste her time with kids just looking.
We went through the front door straight into the tastefully furnished living room. Then we were ushered upstairs to see the three bedrooms all doubles with en suite bathrooms. Then back downstairs she showed us the kitchen and back in the living room, she then took us out through the patio doors into the garden. Now I realised why Lottie was so keen about this house. The garden was quite a size and half way down was a swimming pool.
We thanked the agent for her time and left. I'm sure she didn't expect to see us again. We drove off to a nearby pub to discuss all we'd seen.
"So Lottie, you've been here two weeks and Jamie's been here a week and that's all you two could come up with?"
"Well, we have left it a bit late Tom, you've got to admit that."
"Let's cut to the chase. The first three are out. All agreed?" The three of them nodded. "So unless we start looking around some more the house with the pool is the only option."
"But" Lottie interrupted, "we could look from now till university starts and not find anywhere nice to live. Besides we've got to think of Jamie, the local schools start their new term in a week, which is a week before we start back. He's got to enrol in one soon or he'll not be able to at all."
"I don't mind." Injected Jamie with a wry smile on his face.
Andy looked at Jamie, then pulled his mobile phone out and pretended to speak to Jamie's mother. "Hello Mrs Clarke, yeah Jamie won't be going to school after all. What's that you say? He's to pack himself off home, oh okay; we'll make sure he's on the first train back to Homophobia. Yes, you have a nice day just now."
Jamie and I said at the same time. "Point taken"
"What do you think Andy?" I asked.
"Well it is nice, but I don't see how we can afford it."
"Of course we can." said Lottie. "I've been doing some sums and I've had a few ideas."
"Oh?" I asked.
"Well Tom, you're loaded."
"Which is not the point." Andy butted in.
"Which is totally the point. What I'm thinking is that with the money that you're getting from renting out your flat you could afford the rent."
"But that's not fair." Said Andy. "Why should Tom have to stump up?"
"Besides." I added. "I bought the flat in Edinburgh in Andy's name as well so half of the rent belongs to him."
"Okay, but it's the same amount of money, no matter who owns it. What I'm suggesting is that if Tom pays the rent, the rest of us will pay the bills and it all becomes fair. I've got my student loan, plus my parents are going to help me out. Jamie's mother said that she would send him some money for his living expenses."
"And I could get a part time job." Jamie again interrupted.
Andy then got in on the act. "I can get a student loan too. I've also saved most of the money from working this summer. I was going to use it to buy a car..."
"NO!" Lottie, Jamie and I said at once. The thought of Andy being allowed behind the wheel of a car wasn't one that any of us were willing to contemplate.
"Fucking hell! I crash one car months ago and you'd think that I made a habit of it. Anyway, before my pride was savagely hurt. All I was going to say was that maybe the best thing would be that all four of us pooled our money, worked out how much we could afford for rent and bills then decide if we can afford the nice big house with it's very nice swimming pool. But only if it's a fair share."
"I'm being bullied here, you do all realise that?"
"Yep!" Lottie and Jamie said as one.
Lottie pulled out a piece of paper with a list that she'd worked out of our expenses, from rent, rates and utility bills to tuition, course books, food and miscellaneous living expenses. She assured us that her sums although guesswork were realistic and the bottom line figure was worse case scenario. I looked at it carefully and did a few quick mental sums of my own.
"Okay, so are we all sure that we want that house? Lottie and Jamie nodded and Andy shrugged his shoulders. Right then this is what we're going to do:"
Tom outlined a plan that looked like it would work. He said that he already had a tenant lined up so the rent from his, sorry our flat in Edinburgh would more or less cover the rent and council rates for this house with a bit left over. He still had his allowance from his parents and I still had the money from my summer job put by to tide me over for uni, hopefully this year I wouldn't have to get a part time job. Jamie and Lottie would pay the utility bills and the food bills would be shared between all four of us.
This was really looking like it could work, but I felt a sudden pang. I suddenly felt trapped. It was like just a few days ago I was considering staying with the RSC and now here we were, the four of us making decisions that would effectively have us all tied to each other for a whole year. Why was that so scary for me?
I mean, when Tom picked me up from Stratford I had made my decision in the car to myself that I would go back to uni. I knew from the second that I saw him again that there was no contest. I had to be with him. But as we were all talking about how we could afford to rent this place it occurred to me that we, all four of us would become very dependant on each other in more ways than just financial.
The second year at uni was going to be tougher for the three of us. We were warned that a lot more would be expected from us than in the first. Then there was Jamie. He's a great guy and I love him to bits but the last time we were together you could cut the sexual tension with a knife. I knew damn well that he was still in love with both Tom and me, and that could lead to major problems if the three of us were together for the whole year, tied to each other by our collective commitments.
Or maybe I was making a mountain out of a molehill?
Lost in my thoughts I barely heard Tom ask us all once again if we all were sure that we wanted to go for the last house. He pulled out his cheque book and made out the sum for the deposit and first months rent and instructed Lottie to take it to the agents office in the morning, and make sure we could move in as soon as possible.
Tom and I then headed back to Stratford and he stayed the night before heading back to Edinburgh in the morning. Even though we hadn't seen each other in ages we didn't spend the rest of the night making love. In fact as soon as we got into bed Tom asked if I was okay? To which I replied that I was just a bit tired. He switched the light off and we slept.
I woke up next morning realising that I had been having a dream that I'd had before. And it had something to do with the last scene from `The Talented Mr. Ripley'.
Well there you have it. In the next chapter we will see how Andy and Tom deal with their situations (or not). Also we will hear a lot more from Jamie, and how he adjusts to a new area, new school and living with Andy and Tom full time.
As I said before I would love to hear any comments you have about CTU. Did you love it? Did you hate it? Which characters do you warm to? Which characters would you love to see take a very long walk off a very short pier?
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