Okay, okay, so I know, I'm an evil person for keeping you all waiting several months for this chapter of Changing Tom's underwear. What can I say other than Sorry? Life has a habit of throwing things up and you've just got to go with the flow. Still, I'm back writing now and hopefully part nine is not too far off.
I would like to thank everyone who has written to me over the past few months, some to say they've enjoyed the story and others wondering why the next part hadn't materialised. Oh and a couple of blackmailing e-mailers, who have threatened me with all sorts of horrors should I not post part 8 soon. Thanks guys and I trust that you'll send me the negatives as agreed.
Oh just before I go. If you've been following this story from the start then you might want to go back to the file in Nifty and take a look at part one again. Back in January I decided to revise it, adding a little more depth to the story. Go on, go. Part 8 will still be here when you get back.
As for future plans for this story, I've got some, and who knows I might actually get down to writing before the end of the year. Joke! (I hope). Just so that I don't spoil your reading of this chapter I'll let you know at the bottom what I have planned.
So all it remains for me to say is again thanks to all those who have written to me, encouraging me along. It really makes this writing gig worth while. If you'd like to write to me then you'll need my e-mail address: email@example.com
Please put CTU in the subject line as my mail box seems like a magnet for spam.
Love `n' hugs
DISCLAIMER: It wasn't me, I didn't do it. I was nowhere near the cottage at the time. Not that there was a cottage. I was completely on the other side of the field and nowhere near it when it happened.
Changing Toms Underwear part 8
Tom sat there in silence for ages after hearing what I had to say. I knew I did the right thing by telling him. At least I thought I did the right thing. The longer the silence went on the more I was thinking that I'd lost him.
Tom looked up at me, almost whispering broke the silence. "Do you love me Andy?"
"More that anything."
He got up off the bed and took a couple of steps across the room then turned to face me. There was almost a scowl across face.
"What does that mean to you?"
I looked blankly at him, just before I was about to speak he went on.
"I mean, it's three words that seem to be used so often by people, so casual. What do they mean? `I love you'. It's like `Hi, how are you? The weather's nice for this time of year. Isn't it shocking the price of Moet these days, I love you!' Is it just something to say due to a lack of conversation? So tell me..." His voice getting sharper by the second "What do those words mean to you?"
I'd seen Tom in so many different moods in the time that I'd known him but never like this. I'd hurt him bad and he was angry. I tried to think of a reply that would cut through that anger and reach his heart. But I couldn't. All I could say was "Tom, I love you means to me that you're the most important person in my life. The man I live for, would die for, would do anything for. I know you're mad at me now, but please believe me, I love you, I'm sorry for what I did and I'd never want to hurt you."
"Bit late for that don't you think? How did you think I'd feel? I mean, I like Dean, I like him a lot and I know that you two have history. But so do we. Where was `WE' when you and he were at it? Did you even give me, your boyfriend a second thought? Did you think how I might feel?"
I was stunned by his outburst. I tried to speak but the words wouldn't get past my lips.
"Think about it Andy, or maybe let me turn the tables round a bit and put it another way. How would you feel if I told you that after the rugby match I went back to Alex's and we ended up in bed?"
He had a point, I could feel my insides wrench at the thought. Things between Alex and I were better than they once were, I was actually starting to see him in a good light and it seemed to me that Dean was getting on really well with him, so he wasn't the bad guy I once thought he was. But even so, the thought of Alex and Tom together really made me feel bad. I knew I fucked up, but it wasn't until right at that moment I realised how badly hurt Tom was.
"See, not good huh? I'm sorry, I've got to get out of here."
He turned on his heel and headed for the door.
"Where are you going?" I asked rather weakly.
"Anywhere where you're not." He snapped back. "I need some space to think." He grabbed his jacket off the back of the chair at our desk and went for the door slamming it on his exit.
I can't remember the last time I felt so low. I can't remember the last time I really cried. I slumped down face flat on our bed, pulled a pillow over my head and hoped the world would stop spinning.
I didn't hear a knock at the door. Maybe there wasn't even a knock, but the next thing I knew was that someone was sitting on the bed rubbing my back tenderly. I lifted the pillow and saw Charlotte looking down at me; her expression was one of concern. I turned round and sat up, she pulled me into a hug and I bawled my eyes out on her shoulder.
"It's alright baby, it's alright." She said soothingly stroking my hair. I don't know how long we were like that. Eventually I stopped crying, pulled away from her and started to dry my eyes.
"I was on my way to see you when I saw Tom storming out of here. I called after him but he didn't hear me. Do you want to tell me what happened?"
"No." I said rather weakly, but I did anyway. I told her everything that had happened, about Dean and about the argument that Tom and I just had.
"See I told you. I knew Dean was a closet case. Yay, fag hag brownie point for me."
I looked at her quizzically.
"I can spot a poof at a hundred yards"
Despite myself a smile crept across my face.
"That's better. You're smiling. Things don't seem so bad when you smile."
"What kind of crap is that?" I asked.
"I don't know. Just sounded good. But at least you're smiling. Now all we've got to do is work out what to do now."
"Do? What's to do? Tom hates me. I've blown it."
"So that's that then. You're giving up like that?"
"I don't see what choice I've got. You didn't see the look on his face earlier. It just got worse and worse, by the time he left he looked like he hated me."
"Okay, so let's look at it this way. You've made a mistake, you're sorry for that mistake. Are you really telling me that Tom's not going to give you a chance to make it up to him? Do you really think he's that heartless?"
"No of course not, but if he's feeling that bad about me why would he want to give me another chance?"
"Why wouldn't he? Two hours ago he loved you beyond all else. And believe me I know how much he loves you. I've not mentioned this before but do you remember Lisa's birthday?
Lisa was another friend of Charlotte's and mine from our course. A couple of weeks before Dean came to stay with us she had a birthday party at the student union bar. I was trying to think back to that night but couldn't think of anything that really stuck out for me to remember.
"Okay so you don't remember that for most of the night Tom and I were chatting in a corner of the bar?"
Thinking back I did remember that. I was up dancing through most of the night, Tom's not much of a dancer really, he prefers to stay out of it, he'll find himself a spot to stand in and happily drink himself sober, while chatting and larking about with friends. I remembered seeing him chatting to some guys from our dorm floor, having a laugh with his mates from his course. Then I remembered seeing that he wasn't there when I next looked out for him. I was still up and dancing, I wondered for a while where he was then about half an hour later I spotted him and Charlotte in a corner, they seemed to be having a serious conversation. They were chatting for sometime, until a slow record came on and Tom made his way across the dance floor and into my arms.
"We spent most of the evening chatting about you and how much he loves you. Believe me when I tell you that he said to me that he's never felt the way he feels about you for anyone else in his life. He told me that it was you who taught him how to love and be loved."
I snorted at the irony of that statement. Less than an hour ago he asked me accusingly if I knew what love was.
Charlotte continued. "Andy, his delivery of that line was with total sincerity. He may be feeling really hurt now and maybe even angry, but there's no way he's stopped loving you. No way."
"But what if he has?" I said, not even really wanting to hear the answer
"Don't even think that way. Have you seen you two together? You're two star-crossed lovers, everyone can see that. Even before you guys started dating there were a hell of a lot of people who already thought that you two were an item. You're good together, you know it and so does Tom. He may be mad at you right now, but that will go, he'll calm down and will listen to what you have to say. You want to get him back right? You love him right?"
"Of course I do. I love him so much Lottie, I don't know what I'd do without him."
"Then all we have to do is work out how you can tell him that." She went quiet. "Any ideas?"
"You're the one with all the answers."
"Yep, but there are times where you've really got to work it out for yourself and this is one of them."
"Thanks, you're a great help." I said gloomily.
"Think nothing of it sweetie. Look I've got to go." She said looking down at her watch and frowning apologetically. "I'm meeting with Brian for dinner tonight, but I can cancel if you want."
"Brian? What Brian from stagecraft? Hey when did this happen?"
"It hasn't, but tonight could be his lucky night."
"Then you should go. Brian? I thought he was gay."
"Darling, if you can't tell your own kind then there's really no hope for you. I'd get that gaydar of yours serviced."
"What do I need to do that for? I've already got myself the man of my dreams. I've just got to convince him that I'm still the man of his."
"That's more like it. Oh and I'd ease off on the sloppy clichés if I were you. Not very attractive."
We both laughed. She got up from the bed and I followed. We hugged. "Thanks Lottie, you've been great."
"All part of the service my sweet. Now are you sure you don't mind me going, I don't like leaving you feeling so bad."
"Go, really, I'll be alright. If nothing more I've got a whole CD collection of sad songs to listen to."
"I love you Andy, you'll be okay." She lifted herself up on tiptoes and kissed me on the nose, then broke away laughing to herself.
"What's so funny?" I asked.
"Oh just a random thought that popped into my head. Here I am consoling you on the loss of your boyfriend, when what I really should be doing is telling you that he's a total shit, and that you've got your sexuality all wrong, and that you've just never given yourself the opportunity to be with the right girl and how I would really like to give you that opportunity."
"Lottie!" I whined.
"I know, I know. It's not to be and I'm an evil person."
"Yes you are an evil person. Come here." We hugged one more time then she left.
I sat back down on the bed with a heavy thump. I thought about what Charlotte had said, then I thought about how mad Tom looked. How the hell could I get him back? That's all that went through my mind.
I went over to my CD's and looked for something that I wanted to listen to. I couldn't find anything, I just ended up staring at them for ages, my mind just couldn't focus enough to choose what song I wanted to feel sorry for myself to.
I made a split decision to forget the music and head out to try to find Tom. I had no idea what I was going to say to him if I found him, all I knew was that I couldn't let the day end on an argument.
As it was near dinnertime I checked out the dining hall, but he wasn't there. Neither was he under our favourite tree in the quad or by the ornamental ponds, another of our favourite haunts. After checking out half a dozen other places I finally decided to go to the student union bar. I left that one to last as I missed my shift working there in the afternoon and I figured that Bob, the bar manager, would be out for my blood. Also I was sure that I'd see people who I knew and didn't really feel in the mood for making casual conversation.
I looked around but couldn't see him. I saw a couple of friends, Miles and Clare from Tom's course; I went over to them and asked if they'd seen Tom. Miles told me that he had and that Tom was in a really bad way. Clare added, "Are you two okay? He's been here all afternoon, downing beer like it's going out of fashion."
I replied that we'd had a bit of a fight. I then asked if they knew where he was right now. I didn't have to wait for a reply. In the corner of my eye I saw the door to the men's toilet open and Tom staggered out. He looked like he'd had a skin full. He looked over in our direction but I don't think he saw me. He lurched over and hung himself over Miles and Clare's shoulders.
"I love you Miles." He slurred, then gave him a kiss on the cheek. "I love you Clare." He gave Clare a kiss, then looked up to me. He blinked to focus a couple of times then said "But I don't love you." My heart sank.
"Yeah you do." Miles jumped in. "Andy it's the booze talking"
"Y'see Miles." Ignoring the last comment. "You love Clare right? And C-Clare, you love Miles here." They both nodded. "You both knows it and you're enough. No that's the wrong word. You're happy with each other. You're in a monog..." he stuttered "Mahogany. No. You're in a mahogamous relationship right? You only want to be with each other. You love each other and you know what's it's all about. Yay you guys. You can hold a one to one relationship together. That's a very rare thing. Take it from me." He burped, hiccuped then lost his balance and fell to the floor smiling.
"Andy" Said Miles. "We better get him back to your room".
"No, it's okay Miles I've got it, just help me get him up."
Miles shrugged his shoulders then bent down and grabbed hold of one of Toms arms while I grabbed the other. We hauled him up onto his feet then I got underneath one of his arms and took his weight.
"I'm not going" He protested. "I'm for another drink." He staggered, nearly knock us off balance. We started walking off toward the bar door and before too long made it outside. I think the night air hit him hard as when we were crossing the quad on the way to the halls Tom stopped and said, "Andy, I don't feel so good." The next second he was heaving his guts up. He must have had so much to drink as it was ages before he stopped throwing up.
Eventually he got back, all be it unsteadily, to his feet and said clear as day "That's better" He looked round at me, I'm not sure who looked whiter, him or me. I was so worried about him, not just because he'd spent the last five minutes throwing up, but also because I'd never seen him look this bad before.
"I think we need to talk Andy." He said sounding almost sober.
"Yeah, but let's get you back to the room first."
We walked in silence. My thoughts were running overtime, as much as I needed to sort this out I didn't think it would be a good idea while he was in that state. But I had no say in the matter, as soon as we got through our door Tom started talking.
"Andy" He sounded so much more sober than he was twenty minutes earlier. "I'll ask you this just once, then never again. Why? Why did you go off behind my back? Don't I mean enough to you?"
He staggered over to the bed and slumped down. He fumbled with his shoes, trying to slip them off then hauling his legs on to the bed. I sat down at the other end of the bed to him, thinking about my answer carefully before I finally spoke.
"I love you more than anything Tom. I always have, but to answer your question, I don't know. It was a moment thing. Dean's been a big part of my life for so long and at the time it seemed so right. I can't explain it. But almost as soon as it happened I felt bad. Felt bad that I had betrayed you, felt bad that I had allowed myself to betray your love and trust. I know you're in a place right now where you're hurting and probably don't want to be with me anymore, but you've got to know how bad I'm feeling. I hate myself for hurting you."
I turned round to look straight at him to see if I'd got the message home. He'd passed out. I had no idea if he'd heard any of what I had said. I decided that it was for the best and that I should just remove his clothes and get us both into bed. Anything more and we'd deal with it in the morning.
I had a very disturbed sleep that night. To be expected I suppose. My dreams were vivid and gruesome. Each one was of the same theme, that I was loosing Tom. Ones where I'd be running after him but he kept on getting further away. Ones where he was dead and I was mourning him. After each and every one I woke with a start, panicked to the core, just to see Tom sleeping soundly next to me. I think it was fair to say that I had all but an hours sleep.
I think that morning we both woke feeling worse for wear. Tom complained that a family of pixies seemed to have taken residence in his head and were planning on building an extension. "Huh?" I asked, then smiled. He looked at me and said that by the sight of me it was from my head where they'd just moved.
"You have a very odd way with words Tom MacKay."
We both took turns in the shower, up till then nothing about the day before had been mentioned. When I had finished showering and was back in the bedroom Tom was sitting on the bed in just a pair of boxers. I didn't have the energy to comment on his choice of underwear. I went over to my cupboard and pulled out a pair of joggers and a t-shirt and slipped them on.
"So where do we go from here?" He asked.
"That's up to you Tom. If I had my way we'd learn from this and become closer for the experience. I love you more than anything and don't want to loose you. I realise that I fucked up badly and that you might find it hard to trust me. But all I can do is ask that you do try. I won't say that Dean meant nothing to me, as we'd both know that would be a lie. I love Dean and I guess I always will, but in a very different way to how I love you."
I looked directly at Tom as I said my last few words, hoping to see that he had understood what I was saying. He just sat there poker faced.
"You know, before we got together, before I knew that you were interested in me, during the Christmas holidays Dean and I were together one night. He'd had some trouble with his girlfriend Tracey and stayed over at my place for the night. I spent the whole night holding him, comforting him. Just like I always did when he needed me. Just like we both did for each other really. That was always the way of our friendship. But as much as I was there for him, there was a part of me that wished that it was you that I was holding. Dean was the first guy that I was in love with, but I knew that it was never meant to be, that any love that he had for me was out of deep friendship. When we were younger that was enough for me, but I knew that sooner or later we'd go our own ways. Dean's basically straight, well at least he is in his mind. I don't know that he'd ever be comfortable in the kind of relationship that I would have wanted us to have at the time."
I paused for a moment to collect my thoughts
"I remember thinking that night during the holidays that if both of you came calling for me, that it would be you that I would want to be with. I've known Dean nearly all my life, yet as much as I love him it's you who has my heart. I love you Tom; there's no confusion in my mind about that. When I told you about what happened with Dean I told you because I didn't want it grinding at my conscience. I know that my confession doesn't give me any right to expect automatic forgiveness, I just hope that you can find it in your heart to do just that. I do love you Tom. I'll always love you no matter what."
When I finished my long-winded speech I looked Tom in the eyes, silently pleading with him to understand how much I love him. We held each other's gaze for a long time before a slight smile came to his face and he spoke.
"I know you love me and I know that I should never have doubted that, maybe I was over reacting to a point but I can't tell you how crushed I felt yesterday. Dean's a great guy and I know that I shouldn't have a problem with what you two did. I mean I seem to remember that I once sort of suggested a sort of threesome between us, didn't I. I don't know how this is different, it just is. I want to love you Andy and to trust you and I know that if I'm true to myself I do. But I just can't get out of this feeling of being hurt by you. I know that this might seem like I'm being insecure or paranoid and I suppose I am. I love you so much that it sometimes scares me. Who's to say that there wont be another guy that catches your eye and you'd be off..."
"Tom, don't even start to think along that way." I interrupted. "Why would there be? I love you more than anything else. There's no guarantees in this world, but one thing I know for sure is that I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
It was at that very moment as I said that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Tom that I actually realised that it was just what I wanted. Up till then of course I knew I loved him, but I guess that there was a slight bit of uncertainty within me about the long term. Was I really ready to commit to one person? And was Tom that one person? Up till then I was a day to day kind of guy, not really giving the future any serious thought. Sure I did often daydream about our future together, but they were only dreams. Suddenly all doubt was expelled from my mind, not only did I know what I wanted, I knew that it would happen.
"Is that what you want Andy? Because if it is then there's something that you really ought to know about me, something that I'd never really given much thought to before."
"I've got a bit of a jealous streak running through me. I'm not a possessive person, and if you want an open relationship then I'll understand. But that relationship won't be with me. I can't deal with the paranoia and bad feeling that I know I'd be feeling. Yesterday was bad enough for me, I don't want to go through that again."
"It won't happen again. Promise. The last thing in the world I want is to loose you."
"Than let's call a halt to this conversation. Let's look forward, not back. I love you Andy and I will get over this because I love you. Just do me a favour, if you ever stop loving me don't go off somewhere behind my back. I'd rather you just tell me and we'll go our separate ways. Much less pain that way."
"Yeah but that's never going to happen, okay."
I don't know why, but the words from the chorus to a Daevid Allen song popped in to my head. Daevid Allen was from a group called Gong was one of Tom's favourite artists that wasn't from the heavy metal genre. He told me when he first played me a CD of his that he thought the guy was a poet and a sage and probably the coolest old bloke on the planet. I sang the chorus out loud to Tom.
Well you know there's nothing can destroy ya
And you know it's just paranoia
Don't you know I'd climb mountains to find you
And only make love if you want to"
I looked deep into Tom's eyes and he broke out into an ear to ear grin then said "I want to"
He leaned into me and we kissed. I moved forward slowly pushing him on his back to the bed until I had him pinned down. Laying on top of him, our little kissing pecks became more intensified and I could feel him growing in his shorts. I took my hand from his shoulder and slowly ran it down the length of his body until I reached his shorts. I slid my hand under the waistband and started to gently rub his engorged flesh.
At the same time he had started an exploration of his own. His hand had found its way under the waistband of my joggers and he was caressing my butt. All the while we were kissing. I loved the feeling of closeness that we had right in that moment. We spent the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon making love. Affirming to each other the deep love that had developed between us.
Tom and I had snoozed off after spending the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon in bed. I woke to a bit of a start when I heard a knock at the door. Tom opened his eyes and looked up at me, we were still holding each other from our sleep.
"Go away!" We both called out in unison.
"Andy, Tom, it's me Charlotte. I hope you're both decent cos I'm coming in."
"You locked the door right?" Asked Tom whispering. I thought back to last night and just as Lottie opened the door and remembered that I didn't. I bit my lower lip and winced at Tom.
"Well at least there's a happy ending." Exclaimed Charlotte. "I was a bit worried about you two when Andy didn't show for classes today. By the way Andy, Dan's livid. You were supposed to be on stage for a full rehearsal today."
"Oh shit, I'd forgotten about that. I'd better call him later and apologise."
"Okay" She virtually ignored what I'd said. "So, you guys going to fill me in on what happened then? I heard about Tom in the bar last night"
"Bloody hell, Lottie. Does anything happen in this place without you knowing about it?" I asked.
"Nope, I'm at the epicentre of the world of gossip, rumour, tittle-tattle and hear say. You should know that by now." She said with a wicked grin
"You're a one woman Hello magazine" I frowned.
"Don't change the subject. What happened last night?" Tom and I looked blankly at each other and shrugged our shoulders. "I'll take that as a no comment then. You guys are no fun." She pouted. "Okay, so here's my take on what happened. Andy, you did something really stupid and hurt Tom. Tom, you got mad, ran out on Andy and got pissed. After a sobering soul search you both finally came to the conclusion that the world and her second cousin twice removed knows, that you're both good for each other and should be together."
Tom and I looked at each other shrugged our shoulders and nodded.
"I'm glad that you guys got back together, but just for future reference Tom should you ever think about dumping Andy just remember that I'm waiting in the wings for him." She smiled that evil smile of hers.
"Lottie" Replied Tom, grinning. "You've never made any secret of your unhealthy obsession with my boyfriend. But you've really got to realise that as much as he loves you, you just don't have what it takes to satisfy him. Know what I mean?" He winked at her suggestively.
"Tom MacKay, you're such a misogynist. Andy darling how can you put up with this sexist snob?"
"It's hard, but I try."
"Well actually it's not hard right now, but I'm sure as soon as you go Lottie it will be." Said Tom, trying even harder to shock Charlotte by placing his hand over my dick which was covered by our bed sheet and giving it a slight squeeze.
Totally ignoring what Tom had said she went on. "Andy, I'll just say one thing. These are your university years, a time to discover who you are. Don't be bound by labels. Gay, straight, bi, it's all packaging. Think about experimenting with life. You've got to try everything at least once, except incest and country dancing, that's what I say."
We all cracked up at another Charlotteisum.
"So how about you telling us how your date went with Brian then?" I asked wanting to change the subject.
Charlotte looked down at her shoes, hesitated for a moment then said "The date went fine. Brian was a perfect gentleman."
"Gay then?" I retorted with a smirk.
"Yep. I don't half know how to pick `em. ARE THERE ANY DECENT, STRAIGHT SINGLE MEN LEFT IN THE WORLD?" she exclaimed rather loudly.
"How about Gary Levinson?" Replied Tom with a smile referring to one of our years' most notorious womanisers.
"Well if that's the best you can come up with I think I'll become a nun or a lesbian." She thought about her statement for a moment then asked, "Which do you think I'd be able to pull off?"
"Humm, Somehow I don't see you in a habit darling." I went on, "Black's definitely not your colour, it'll make you look too pasty. So I'm afraid it's dungarees, pebble glasses and PMT 24/7 for you my dear."
"Andrew Leon Harris, I don't know who's worse, you or your sexist posh boyfriend!" She said with mock disgust.
"Definitely him." Tom and I said in together pointing at each other grinning.
"Well I'm really glad that you two managed to work out your differences, you both deserve each other. Thank God there won't be any children." She shuddered.
A week later saw me shaking like a leaf. It was the day of my audition with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Tom and I went down for breakfast, but I could hardly eat. I was way too nervous to do anything. Tom kept on reassuring me that it would be okay and I'd do good. I know he meant well and it was nice hearing him say some great things about me. But I wished that someone would tell that to the butterflies that had taken up residence in my stomach.
I finally managed a cup of coffee and a slice of toast, then we headed back to the room. Tom and I showered together, I barely noticed that he was trying to unwind me by massaging my shoulders as the hot water spayed down on us.
My mind was totally fogged out, after drying ourselves I went to the wardrobe to choose something to wear, I must have gone through several selections of clothes before Tom finally said that what I had on was fine and that I should stop panicking. I replied that it was easy for him to say and as if to emphasise the point he kissed me then repeated that I should stop panicking.
We went down to the staff car park, it was still early and the only person there was Dan, who was standing by his car.
"All set?" He asked.
"I think we've got a case of the nerves Dan. He's barely said a word all morning." Tom replied.
"Andy?" He said looking me up and down. "Maybe we should call it off, you look like you're about to collapse."
Tom affirmed that I did look a bit white. I guess that was probably the jolt that I needed.
"Call it off? Are you both mad? No way. I'll be all right. I'm just a bit nervous."
"Just as long as you're sure, trust me Andy, you'll do fine. Dudley will love you."
Tom looked around just to make sure that there really wasn't anyone about and then kissed me goodbye. He wanted to come along with us but I thought it would be better if he didn't. Probably just as well as he had an exam a couple of days later and I knew that he should really put some study time in.
After a couple of minutes more for goodbye kisses Dan discreetly coughed and said that we really ought to be making a move. Tom and I exchanged one more kiss and then he went up to Dan, shook his hand and said "Look after my boy wont you". I blushed. Dan said that I'd be fine and that we'd call him as soon as I auditioned and got in.
Dan was a great teacher. Did you ever have a teacher that inspired you to be greater than you felt you were? A teacher, who sowed the seeds of idea into your fertile mind, introduced you to new thoughts? Dan was that teacher for me. I don't know what it was about him that inspired me so. Maybe it was that to my mind he'd done everything, he was only 28, but he'd lived the life of someone twice his age. I'm not just talking about the acting, but sure that inspired me too. He'd taken on a variety of roles, showing off his expert skills in the art. He'd travelled, seen places that I've only ever dreamed about and done things that I wondered at.
To me he had the world at his feet. And the best thing, the thing that inspired me most about him was that he had the same background as I did. He went to a comprehensive school, grew up on the council estates. He got to where he is today by hard work and plenty of talent. How much more inspirational can someone be? And here he was, investing his time and energy in me, helping me along the road that he's so well travelled.
The two hour car journey to Stratford went in no time. I wanted to practice my lines as we drove, but Dan said that I shouldn't. His reasoning was that if I didn't know what I was going to do by now then he might as well turn the car round and head back to the university, and as we were on a duel carriageway there was no chance of that. It was his way of telling me yet again not to worry.
We got to the theatre just after noon and made our way to the stage door. Dan knocked and eventually an old bloke, probably in his late sixties came to answer.
"There's no one here" He announced abruptly.
"Now don't tell me you're not happy to see me?" Dan asked the crotchety old man.
The old man slipped his hand into his shirt pocket and produced a pair of half moon spectacles and attached them to his face. His severe features softened slightly.
"Well there's a face I've not seen in a few years. What the bloody hell are you doing back here? Thought you'd given this all up for the bright lights of London's west-end, feature films and televisial costume dramas."
"Sid, it's good to see you. This is a young friend and student of mine, Andy. Andy this is Sid, he's the theatre's caretaker and probably the main reason I got through my first season here."
"Now that's a pile of bull, pardon my French. You'd have made it no matter what. I just gave you a bit of encouragement when I thought you needed it."
Dan smiled then turned to me and explained. "It was my first night here and I was more nervous than you are now. I'd been rehearsing for weeks with the company but when it came down to the moment when I was standing in the wings awaiting the cue for my first entrance I completely dried. I thought I'd forgotten my lines and couldn't take my first step out on to the stage. Sid here came up to me and said..."
"If you don't get on stage now, I'll chuck you out there. I've got cleaning to do and you're in my way." Sid finished Dan's sentence. "The poor kid was mortified. I gave him a push and he went on to give in my humble opinion one of the best performances that I'd ever seen a kid of his age do. Got real talent has this one." His wrinkled face broke out into a smile. "What's this about this being a student of yours?"
"I've been giving acting classes at university."
"Since when?" he looked puzzled.
"I've been there since last September, I'm doing a year, before going on to my next project."
Sid looked at Dan as if he'd gone mad. "Why?" he asked.
"Just something I fancied doing. I didn't have too much lined up for this year and when they approached me to do it I thought why the hell not? It's been a good year and I'm glad that I did it. I might not get a chance like that again, I've got quite a busy schedule for the autumn onwards, what with a film and another drama for the BBC coming up."
"That reminds me" Sid went on. "The wife and I loved that series on the telly over the last few weeks"
"Thanks. That was shot last year just before I started teaching."
The show that Sid was talking about was yet another BBC Dickens adaptation for early Sunday evening viewing. Required viewing for everyone on our course. Not that we had to watch it, more like we couldn't miss it.
"Anyways I `spec you're here to see Dudley. He's up in his office, I'll call him to let him know you're on the way."
"Cheers Sid, it's been good to see you."
"You too kiddo." He shook Dan's hand and then turned to me. "Listen to this guy and you'll not go far wrong"
We made our way through the theatre until we stopped at a door. Dan looked at me, smiled, then knocked.
"In" The disembodied voice commanded.
Dan opened the door and showed me through into a large office. At the far end was a desk with a slim, handsome looking man in his mid fifties wearing a frown on his forehead.
"Well well well, look what the proverbial cat's dragged in. Given up drama master class and come home have we? Back to the bosom of your family." His manner seemed to be overly camp, theatrical camp as the say.
"Well if I had Dudley it wouldn't be your bosom I'd be coming back to you tired old queen."
"Tired? Yes, have you seen the work load that I've got this year? Queen? Well that's you opinion and your more than welcome to it. Old? I'll sue, someone get my lawyer on the phone."
They both broke out into smiles. Dudley got out of his chair and walked round to our side of the desk, putting his arms round Dan, he planted a kiss on his cheek. Dan returned the gesture, then parted.
"So" Dudley looking me up and down. "This is your latest shag then? Whatever happened to what's his name? The pop star?"
"No, this is a student of mine. The one I called you about. The other half and I if you must know are doing fine. He's off on a world tour and we be back within the next month."
"How long has he been gone?"
"Eight months? Too bad, long distance relationships never work."
Dan Looked at Dudley and was just about to say something to him, but seemed to think better of it.
"So, cat got your tongue?" Dudley asked, looking me up and down again.
Before I got a chance to answer Dan introduced me. "Dudley, this is Andy, The lad I called you about a few weeks ago."
"Oh the young prodigy. You've been given some high praise young man. I wonder if you will live up to your billing. Okay, drop your trousers and let's see what you've got."
I think the look of horror on my face must have said it all.
"Only my little joke, you can pick your jaw up from the floor. We don't do the casting couch here. Well not if you have any talent anyway. I take it that you do have some talent?" He went on not even waiting to hear an answer from me. "Dan take the chicken to the stage and I'll meet you in the stalls. Let's see what you've got for me."
Dan told me to follow him, turned to Dudley and replied that he'd meet him in a few minutes. On our way down to the stage Dan said something like he thought it went quite well.
"Well?" I was still in the state of shock that I'd been in since Dudley first spoke.
"Don't worry, you'll be fine. Dudley's a scream and he's going to love you. Trust me."
We arrived back stage and I started deep breathing to focus myself. Dan put his arm round my shoulder and reminded me that I'd be all right. "Just give him something to remember, make an impression. I know you will." Were Dan's parting words. I carried on with my deep breathing, picturing in my mind the first scene that I was going to do.
"Ready whenever you are young man" Dudley called out breaking my concentration.
Just give him something to remember, make an impression. Dan's words echoed through my head over and over as I walked out onto the stage. I took another deep breath and started on my first piece.
"I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king and queen moult no feather."
I don't know what I was thinking or if I was actually thinking at all, caught in the moment I was going to make an impression. As I went into my next line I unbuttoned my shirt and cast it aside.
"I have of late,--but wherefore I know not,--lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire,--why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours."
I kicked off my trainers
"What a piece of work is man!"
I undid the buttons to my jeans and slid them off.
"How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!"
Yep, by now I definitely wasn't thinking. Standing there in just my lucky white Hom sport briefs, hey, I'm an actor, we're superstitious. I put my thumbs under the waistband elastic and pulled them down.
"And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so."
From that piece I went into the other scenes that Dan and I rehearsed for my repertoire. It wasn't until the final piece did I start to put my clothes back on.
"If we shadows have offended, Think but this,--and all is mended,-- That you have but slumber'd here While these visions did appear. And this weak and idle theme, No more yielding but a dream, Gentles, do not reprehend; If you pardon, we will mend. And, as I am an honest Puck, If we have unearned luck Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue, We will make amends ere long; Else the Puck a liar call: So, good night unto you all. Give me your hands, if we be friends, And Robin shall restore amends."
I took a bow and awaited some sort of response. Had I really done that? Stripped off on the stage of the Royal Shakespeare theatre? This was a long way off from my failed audition for R.A.D.A.
"Andrew would you care to join us" Dudley called out from the stalls.
I made my way from the stage where I was met by Dudley and Dan, who seemed to be beaming. He clapped a hand on my back and made a discrete nod to me. Well at least Dan seemed to be happy with my audition.
"Well, well, well, my dear boy. That was, shall well say, stimulating." Dudley put a forefinger to his temple and was silent in thought for a moment. I looked over at Dan for any clue as to what Dudley may be thinking. He was still smiling, so it must have been good. "There's plenty of promise" Dudley went on. "I see you've been working on that regional accent of yours"
"Dan's had me taking speech lessons at university." I replied.
"Well quite right too Miss Doolittle. Now don't misunderstand me, regional accents are cool, to use a word from your generation's vernacular. But I find them rather limiting. I'm sure with your natural accent you'd make a perfect villain number 3 in a film by that Richie chap. Or perhaps a role in some television drama about poverty in the rough areas of London, but I'm afraid that here, you'll have to work on a, well shall we say an accent slightly more pleasing to the ear."
Dan cast a horrified glance towards Dudley. "How on earth do you know about Guy Richie films Dudley? I didn't know that you ever went to the cinema."
"Now, now my dear boy." His comment aimed to Dan. "Just because you may think I'm an ancient dinosaur doesn't mean that I'm incapable of enjoying the popular world of the cinema or it's talented youthful protagonists"
"Absolutely Dudley. I totally agree with you, it's just I never thought I'd hear those words from you that's all."
"We're all capable of the occasional surprise. Now Andrew," He turned to look at me. "I have to say that I like what I saw and I don't just mean that little impromptu strip show you put on. Yes, there's real talent there. Rehearsals start later this month for the summer season. However, the company is more or less full."
My face must have shown the disappointment that I suddenly felt.
"Take heart my boy, there's always room for one more in my book. It'll be tough and there's no guarantee that you'll even perform beyond matinees. There are of course the touring company and the fringe, we'll give you more of a try out when you return to us next month and we'll see if we can get you something more definite."
I broke out into a wide grin. "Thank you Mr Hanley" I said shaking his hand.
"Now, Daniel, what are your plans for the future?"
Dan and Dudley went into a lengthy chat about the up and coming projects that Dan was considering or already committed to. I doubt that I heard more than a dozen words from them I was just so wrapped in getting through my audition.
"You ready then?" Asked Dan finally breaking my trance like state.
We said our goodbyes to Dudley and made our way back to the outside world.
"Looks like you're walking on air" Dan said to me.
"I can't believe it. I did it. Thanks Dan. Thanks for all your help."
"Not at all, but have no doubt that it was your talent that got you in, nothing more, not even that strip show. What were you thinking, by the way?"
"Just something you said. Make an impression."
"Well you certainly did that. The poor guys on high blood pressure tablets. That's an audition he wont forget in a hurry."
We decided that there was no rush to go back to uni and spent the rest of the afternoon taking in the historical sights of Stratford upon Avon. Before we had lunch I called Tom on my mobile to tell him the good news
<<"That's fantastic">> He yelped down the phone. <<"I'm so proud of you. What time are you due home?">>
I told Tom what we were going to do for the afternoon and added that we'd be back home in time for dinner.
Dan and I decided to take a pub lunch, as neither of us was all that hungry. He took me to an old haunt of his when he was down in Stratford. Old Tudor building, low ceilings, exposed beams and roaring fire in the hearth even though it was in the high 70's outside. Dan was marvelling on how it hadn't changed a bit since the last time he was there or indeed since the first time he was there.
Throughout our lunch Dan kept me enthralled by tales of the things he got up to while he was here treading the boards.
Just as Dan was about to get up to the bar and get us a couple of pints, his mobile phone rang. He pulled it out of his jacket pocket and looked at the screen display. His face lit up.
"Hi hon, how are you?"
Dan mouthed his boyfriend's name to me to indicate who it was, and sat back down.
"That's great. Hey, what time is it there? That late? You didn't have to wait up to call. Yeah I know. No, you didn't call in the middle of anything, we were just having lunch. Yep he did great, gave a memorable performance. Okay, hang on."
Dan looked up at me smiling and handed me his phone saying that his boyfriend wanted to talk to me.
"Hello" I said slightly hesitantly. Okay, so I admit it I was slightly star struck, I mean it's not everyday that I get to speak to a famous pop star.
<<"Hey Andy, so Dan tells me that congratulations are in order. Well done">>
"Cheers. Thanks a lot"
<<"He's told me all about you, says you've got some real talent going there. I don't know if Dan's mentioned this or not, but we're due back in England next month around the time you all break up for the summer. Dan and I would love to invite you and your boyfriend up to the house to stay for a bit. It would be nice to meet you both before things go crazy again.">>
"Yeah, I'd like that. I'm sure Tom would too."
<<"Great, can't wait to meet you. Could you hand me back to Dan?">>
I gave the phone back to Dan and he spent the next few minutes making sweet talk to his boyfriend thousands of miles away, then spent the next few minutes saying good bye.
"How do you cope?" I asked Dan as he brought two pints over to the table where I was sitting.
"Come again?" He asked.
"I mean, being apart from your boyfriend for so long. How do you cope? It's just that I've been thinking that although I'm wrapped to be joining the RSC for the summer, I'm going to really miss not being with Tom."
"I take it that he's also got holiday plans then."
"Yep, he's got himself a job in Edinburgh, not exactly down the road. I doubt that we'll get much time to see each other over the summer."
"That's too bad. I guess the main way I cope is by keeping busy. Nine months apart is pretty tough, but it's not something I can do anything about. Okay, so I could have taken the time off to travel with the band, but that would mean nine months of sneaking around, keeping out of the press' sight and for what?" He sighed, took a swig of his beer and went on.
"Just a few moments of pleasure when he's got time in his busy schedule. No, I knew that the hassle of all that would send us both nuts. Okay so true I went over to Australia for a couple of weeks over Christmas, but those two weeks the band was off on a break, we holed up in a get away from it all villa, with no one around for miles. It was two weeks of paradise. Now I'm looking forward to next month when he gets back and we've got some time for ourselves. Like I said, it's not easy being apart from the one you love, but for me it just makes the time we have together that much special."
"I guess I'm just a bit worried about the time that Tom and I will be apart."
"That's only natural. You've only just become a couple and as everything is new to you both, the imminent separation that you're both going to have to endure will seem a bit like, well, being apart forever."
"That's exactly it, because we're room mates we've barely spent a night apart, now in a few weeks we'll hardly see each other at all."
"There's something else though, isn't there?" He enquired. "You don't have to answer that Andy, it's just that I get a feeling that you've something more on your mind."
I did. I was thinking a week back and all that had happened when I told Tom about that afternoon with Dean. I launched into the whole story with Dan, telling him all that had happened. I then went on to share with him my fears for the future.
"What if in this time that we've got to be apart Tom gets worried that I'm seeing someone else? What if he breaks it off because he's worried about being paranoid about what I might get up to?"
Dan sat in silence for a while, taking in all that I had just said.
"Well it seems to me that it's you that's got most of the worries here." He smiled at me and let his words sink in. "You've both had a bit of a jolt to your relationship and it's made you think a bit about the future. I think the main question that you have to ask yourself is, are there any foundations to those worries? Will you give Tom a reason to think that you'll be off with other guys while you're apart?"
"No of course not."
"Well then, nothing to worry about other than the normal fears and foreboding that we all get about relationships from time to time. Andy I once said that I wouldn't play the older wiser homosexual and dish out advice to you, but I will say this to you, don't pay for the future by pre-empting the present. For your relationship to stand the tests of time you have to live in the moment. The future is unsure for all of us, who knows what may happen? One thing is certain; you will have to deal with separation at some time or another, how you both deal with it will be defined by how strong your relationship is. You can't let one little setback rule your lives. Tom will learn to trust you as long as you give him no reason not to. I'm quite sure he does already and maybe it's time that you trusted yourself."
Dan and I arrived back at university just as it was getting dark. I was glad that we took the scenic route back, it's amazing to see more of the English countryside when you leave the motorways. Living in a city, sometimes it's hard to remember that this is actually a very beautiful country. Rolling fields and quaint country villages, you know the picture post card stuff.
We said our goodbyes and I raced up to my room to see Tom. I couldn't wait to celebrate with him. I went to open the door but it was locked, so I took my key out and turned the lock. I was a bit worried that Tom wasn't there as I was so looking forward to seeing him. I opened the door and it was dark inside, my heart sank a bit. Just as my eyes began to adjust I heard a match strike and saw the flame begin to lift the darkness from the room. Tom put the match to a candle. Within seconds the room got much brighter. The candle was in the middle of a table set for dinner. I felt a very warm glow from within me, a glow that dwarfed the glow from the candle.
Tom was sitting at the table; he seemed to be almost naked, wearing just his old school tie around his neck.
"So, you got in? I'm so proud of you." He shot a beaming smile in my direction. My heart melted, the very same way it does every time he smiles at me.
I looked at him then at the table; he'd obviously been busy while I was away. My reckoning was that he must have been down to the local Chinese takeaway and ordered their entire menu, for set out before me was a veritable feast.
"You like?" He enquired.
"I don't know what I like the sight of more, you in just that tie or all that food." I replied.
"Well maybe I can do something to make your mind up for you."
With that he pushed his chair back and got up. I was wrong in thinking that apart from his tie Tom was naked, he got up to reveal that he was wearing a silver g-string. The light from the single candle reflected off of it and cast shadows on the wall.
"That's not one of mine?" I enquired.
"Nope, I got it a while back and thought I'd save it for a special occasion, now's as good a time as any. So, what's it to be? Food or something to work up an appetite?
"Still a tough call, that grub does look good." I said with a smirk.
"You pig, right just for that you'll not get any afters."
"That's too bad, as it's always the afters that I look forward to."
He walked round the table and we embraced. After a few minutes of just holding each other we parted and Tom said again "I'm so proud of you, you know that. I knew you'd walk that audition." We tenderly kissed each other.
"Do you want to skip dinner?" He asked. "Go straight to the afters?"
I didn't need it spelt out to me what option Tom had on his mind, I for one had lost my appetite for food, only to have it replaced by a much deeper hunger.
I moved round to the bed and sat down to drink in the sight before me. I wondered to myself if Tom looked more handsome by the day, as I saw the sight of his slim but firm muscular body before me. His g-string putting up a losing battle to keep its contents in. I reached down to the bottom of my shirt and started to unbutton it, at the same time I kicked my shoes off. Once I was bare chested Tom offered me his hand and he pulled me up, then he had his hands on the button of my jeans and pulled them down in seconds.
I stepped out of them and Tom looked up at me, then placed his hands on my cotton covered arse and pulled me closer towards him. I'd been wearing the same Hom sport briefs for a couple of days now. I know, not exactly hygienic. It's all part of the superstitious thing, whenever I'm up for an audition I always wear the same briefs that I had on the day before and they always happen to be my lucky white Homs. Tom seemed happy enough to take in the two day old aroma as he buried his nose into my crotch. Slowly he began to lick his tongue up and down the material of my briefs. I let out a quiet laugh.
"What's up?" He asked pulling away from me enough so I could hear what he was saying.
"Nothing, just thought to myself that I've got you well trained now."
"Oh?" He replied with a bit of a scowl.
"Well think about it, six months ago could you really see yourself doing that?"
He thought for a moment then said "No, but six months ago I couldn't picture myself doing a lot of the things that we've done. I guess you could say that a lot has changed in the last few months."
He peeled my briefs down and my engorged member sprang up bobbing around in front of Tom's face. He took hold of it and kissed the purple head lightly, sending shivers up and down my spine.
Gently he teased me by going half down on my shaft and then pulling up again, taking his time as I think we both felt that there was all the time in the world. He brought his hand up to my nut sack and started to play around with my balls while continuing bobbing up and down, stopping every now and then to take hold of my dick in his other hand and play around with it. He did that several times before he went all the way down on me, pulling me nearer and nearer to the brink. His pleasuring me finally proved too much and as I felt my balls rise slightly I let out the first of several streams of hot milky fluid down Tom's throat. His mouth remained clamped to me until he'd drained every milky last drop.
"I love you Tom."
"I love you too Andy" He replied wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
He got up off his knees and we embraced.
I moved my hand down and placed it over the shiny material that was covering his manhood. I grabbed a handful and started caressing my fingers all over it. Tom letting out moans of pleasure as I worked my hand over him. I pulled his dick out from the side of his pouch and went on stroking his flesh until I was sure that he was almost at the point of not return, then I took my hand away.
Tom looked at me, then smiled. As if reading my mind he kissed me then went back down on his knees, he turned me round and then buried his face between my cheeks. A bolt of electricity went right through me as I felt his tongue push through my tight hole. He worked me for quite a time, until I thought I could take no more.
"Tom I want you in me, I want to feel your dick inside me."
He didn't need a further hint. He got back up and reached over to our bedside table and grabbed the tube of K.Y and squirted some on my hand. His dick was still poking out the side of the bunched up g-string that he was wearing, I went to pull it off him but changed my mind. I rubbed the lube and down his shaft and then smeared the remainder around my arsehole.
Tom squeezed some more lube on his fingers then turned me round. I felt first one then two fingers edge their way inside me, my dick bucking every time the longest of his fingers touched my prostate. Soon he added a third finger and not long after he judged that I was ready to take him. After he took his fingers out I felt the tip of his cock head at my entrance. I pushed back slightly and felt the first of his seven inches poke into me.
My sphincter adjusting to the gradual intrusion as he pushed his love rod more and more inside me. That feeling that's someplace between pain and pleasure running all through me as Tom pushed in to the hilt. Holding there for a while, the feeling so right for me. The feeling of love and passion that is beyond words. As much as we're both versatile in giving each other pleasure, for me there is no better feeling in the world than Tom's dick inside of me. From the very first time we made love right to this moment it has always felt so right.
He quickened the pace, pulling out a few inches then plunging back in. Grunting with pure animal passion, moving back and fourth until the moment of final climax and the feeling of his hot fluid pumping in me.
Breathless we collapsed onto the bed together. I turned round to face him and we kissed each other. Nothing needed to be said, no words could express what either of us were feeling for each other.
After ages of us just laying there I pulled myself up on an elbow and looked down at Tom smiling. I looked down at his flaccid spent penis and at the silver g-string that was still bunched up at the side of it. I pulled the material over it and patted it in place.
"You know, you're not going to keep that g to yourself. I might just have to borrow it from the laundry hamper tomorrow."
"I'll be sure to leave a load in it before the end of the night then." He grinned. "It'll be another present for you, make up for all that food over there that we've wasted."
"I'd all but forgotten about that." I thought about the meal that he had ready for us to celebrate my audition. All gone cold by now. Still, my appetite had been more than satisfied. "Thanks Tom, you've really made an excellent day even more perfect."
"Well I planned it carefully. As soon as you called me to let me know that you got in I got to work. I just wanted everything to be perfect for tonight for you."
"Just being here with you is perfect enough for me. But the candle lit dinner was a lovely thought."
"Shit!" He exclaimed.
"I forgot, I wanted to get the CD player going."
"Anything in mind?" I asked cautiously remembering to myself that no matter how much Tom had changed for his experiences over the past few months his idea of good music was still in the main, heavy metal. I got a slight spasm of worry that he'd spoil our moment with a Metallica track or worse, Iron maiden."
He saw the sudden look of worry that flashed across my face and smiled. "I was going through your CD's last night while you were working at the bar and I found this. I don't know why, but it made me think of you."
I smiled and asked him to put the track on that he had in mind. He got up and crossed the room and started searching around. I took the time to catch my breath back after such our session. It didn't take me long at all to be aroused again as my eyes followed Tom nearly naked body around. My eyes focused in the dim candle light on the elastic of his g-string going down between his firm buns as he moved about. Every now and then I'd catch a glimpse of silver as he bent down far enough for me to see. Yep, with in a few moments I'd recovered my strength and was like a compass near north again.
He found the remote control to his midi system and switched the power on. Within a few seconds I had a smile on my face when Seal started the first harmonies to `Kissed by a rose'.
I got up off the bed to join him and we embraced again; hugging each other as the music went on. Tom singing along with the words in my ear.
There used to be a greying tower alone on the sea. You became the light on the dark side of me. Love remained a drug that's the high and not the pill. But did you know, That when it snows, my eyes become large and, The light that you shine can be seen. Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey. Ooh, The more I get of you, stranger it feels, yeah. And now that your rose is in bloom. A light hits the gloom on the grey. There is so much a man can tell you, there so much he can say. You remain, My power, my pleasure, my pain, baby To me you're like a growing addiction that I can't deny Won't you tell me is that healthy, baby? But did you know, that when it snows, my eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen. Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey. Ooh, the more I get of you stranger it feels, yeah Now that your rose is in bloom. A light hits the gloom on the grey, I've been kissed by a rose on the grey, I've been kissed by a rose on the grey. I've been kissed by a rose on the grey, ...And if I should fall, at all I've been kissed by a rose on the grey. There is so much a man can tell you, so much he can say. You remain My power, my pleasure, my pain. To me you're like a growing addiction that I can't deny, yeah Won't you tell me is that healthy, baby. But did you know, that when it snows, my eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen. Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey. Ooh, the more I get of you stranger it feels, yeah Now that your rose is in bloom, a light hits the gloom on the grey. Yes I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey Ooh, the more I get of you stranger it feels, yeah And now that your rose is in bloom A light hits the gloom on the grey Now that your rose is in bloom, A light hits the gloom on the grey.
When the song ended we pulled apart and he looked straight into my teary eyes. We kissed again, nothing more needed to be said at that moment.
We must have been looking at each other for ages, neither one of us daring to break the spell.
Three weeks later and our end of year finals complete we started our long summer holiday from university. I was going to head off back home but what with the trouble that Dean had a couple of months before I thought better of it. Also as I'd be working in Stratford for most of the holiday and Tom was going to be in Edinburgh I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible before we started our summer jobs.
On the last day of uni we packed our worldly belongings into Tom's car, said our goodbyes to various friends and headed off to the Scottish borders to Tom's parent's house. We spent an idyllic week there.
Tom's folks were away, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We went walking all over his parent's estate, where Tom showed me some of his favourite spots. It was so nice to see the place in the summer as the last time I had been there it was in the bleak midwinter.
He tried to interest me in fishing, one of his favourite pass times, but I can't say that I really got what the attraction was. On the plus side while we had our rods on those little stand things with nothing to do other than stare at the muddy water, we had a lot of time which we used to the fullest and made love countless times. I went away thinking that I could really get into this fishing thing.
Halfway through the week we got a call from Jamie, he'd heard that we were back and asked if he could meet up with us. I'd liked to have said that it was good to see the kid again but he wasn't his normal bright talkative self. He seemed almost subdued.
It turned out that in the spring he decided to come out to his family. They didn't take it too well to say the least. I remember meeting his mother; Tom's parents housekeeper, at Christmas time. I thought that she was a nice jolly sort of person, and had seen her about the house during the week, she treated Tom and I well, but from that day to the end of the week I couldn't look her in the eye again. I wanted to say something, but thought better of it. Not my business really and Tom said that we shouldn't get involved in another families problems.
He had a point. I guess you can never really know what people are like, especially when you drop a bombshell on them. Apparently Jamie's mother went into denial, going on that it was a stupid phase that he was going through. Where as his father just went ballistic, neither of whom were now talking to him, almost pretending that he didn't exist.
"I just want to get out of this place. I'm sick of it." He cried
"Where will you go?" Asked Tom.
"I don't know, London maybe. I don't care just as long as it's away from here."
By the end of the afternoon we managed to persuade him that running away wasn't the answer and that he had to face up to his problems. Easily said I guess, but he knew that we were right. I told him that if things got really bad that Tom and I would be there for him and would try to help him out in any way we could.
The rest of the week flew by and in no time we were in Stratford. I wanted to get there a few days before I had to start at the RSC to get myself settled in. First port of call was to Dudley Hanley's secretary, Dan mentioned to me before the summer break that I should ask her if she knew of any available digs. She put me in touch with some members of the company that she knew were looking for flatmates. I found a nice room in a shared house with three other members.
The rest of the day Tom and I did the tourist thing, exploring the area and all the sights that it had to offer. Tom was going to stay with me for a couple of weeks before heading off to Edinburgh, but it soon became evident that once I started rehearsals I had no time of my own to spend with him. I was up at seven in the morning and most evenings I didn't get in before ten, and every night I was fit to drop. By the end of the first week Tom decided that he was going to head off back to his parents' house. He was getting bored hanging about and as much as I wanted to be with him I knew that he had a point.
He also said that after talking with Jamie he had come to a decision about coming out to his parents and as they would be back from their holiday in the next few days now would be a good time as any.
"Are you sure?" I asked. Tom's parents on the face of it seemed to me to be nice enough people, not the ogres that Tom had always described them to me as. But like I said with Jamie's parents, you can never really know what people are really like.
"More sure than not." He replied. "It's about time that they got to know who their son is and more to the point the next time you come up to stay I want them to know that you're not just my friend, you're my partner. You are such a big part of my life, why should I deny you to anyone. Because let's face it, if my parents had been home last week when we stayed there that's what we would have done, denied our relationship."
"You've really been thinking about this haven't you?"
"Well, Jamie put it into mind, but also that evening of your end of year production. If your mum can accept you as you are and us as a couple then I don't see why my parents can't as well."
My mother had come up to see me a couple of weeks before when the arts department put on their end of year production and afterwards Tom and I took her out to dinner. She'd known about me being gay before I came out to her and my dad when I was in hospital over Christmas and had pretty much guessed that Tom and I were an item, even though at the time we weren't. Not till a few days later anyway. Not much passes my mother by. Her open mindedness was in contrast to my dads, for him it was just another thing to be disappointed in me for.
I remember thinking all through dinner that she seemed to be beaming. She had really taken a liking to Tom and at one point jokingly referred to him as her son in law. I blushed deep scarlet, but Tom later said that he felt a little choked by how cool she was about us.
This above all was behind his thinking about coming out to his parents; he wanted to give them the chance to accept him as he was and me into his family. Together we went through all the pros and cons, the main pro was that it might just help make the connection with them that Tom had always felt was missing. As he'd said to me in the past he had always got the feeling that he was a gatecrasher in his parents party, maybe now was the time to give them a chance to formally invite him in. The main con was that it could all go pear shaped and his folks could disown him.
"In which case, it will only confirm what I've thought all along. My parents have their two perfect sons, with their perfect wives and lives. My brothers have never done anything for them to be embraced or be worried about, maybe now is the time for them to really get to know their third son."
On his last night with me I sneaked out of rehearsals early and we had a special dinner and spent the rest of the night making love.
Three days after a teary farewell I got back to my shared house just before midnight totally exhausted after a full on day of rehearsals. One of my flatmates had left a Post-it note on my bedroom door saying that Tom had left a message on the answer phone. I went into the communal living room and in the darkness saw the light indicating a message flashing.
<<"Andy, it's Tom. I guess you're still at the theatre... Tonight's the night. Wish me luck. Love you.">>
I mentally wished him well and offered up a small prayer to any possible divine entity that might be hearing me at the time. As soon as I'd finished the phone rang making me jump.
"Tom, how did it go?"
<<"Erm...">> He paused.
To be continued...
Song lyrics used in CTU:8 are: `Only make love if you want to' by Daevid Allen from his album `Now is the happiest time of your life'. And `Kissed by a rose' from Seal off the album of the same name.
Additional dialogue by William Shakespeare.
Well I hope you all enjoyed the last instalment. So as promised I thought I'd mention some future plans that I have. The next part, which I'm working on right now, will be the last chapter of Changing Tom's underwear.
From there I've been thinking of writing a couple of spin off stories involving some of the supporting characters. Judging by the e-mails that I've received there's a lot of interest in characters like Alex and Dean and of course Jamie. So I thought it might be fun to go a little deeper into their stories. If anyone has any thoughts about this idea I'd love to hear them, you know the address. No? It's: firstname.lastname@example.org
Any comments or criticisms are gratefully received.