This story is posted for the exclusive enjoyment of readers of the Nifty Archive. While you are free to make a personal copy, no copy of this manuscript may be published, copied, posted to another web site, or otherwise disseminated without express permission from the author.

The contents of this story are fictional. Any resemblance of characters to living or lived persons is strictly coincidental. Certain characters engage in sexual acts which may or may not be legal in the state or country in which a reader may reside. Any reader with objections to graphic descriptions of sexual encounters between males who may not have reached the legal age of consent, or whose local, regional, state or national jurisprudence prohibits such descriptions, should not read further.

Chapter V - Transitions

I cleaned up the table and did the little washing up, took six quid from the pile of money Kurt left by the telephone, and went to leave. I had to go back in to put the four bottles of milk into the fridge, on the door. Then I carefully locked up the flat before I walked down to the street where the jitney to Richmond ran. The stop was just over the road, a few yards down, and I was only there a minute or two before a Red Jitney pulled up. The driver was a little pissed that I didn't have the right change, but I told her I had just moved to Isleworth, and didn't know you had to have the exact amount. She took change out of her jacket for me, and showed me how to use the farebox to get a transfer, if ever I needed one.

The bus took me right to Richmond Station, and I wandered the street for a little before I found an Employment Exchange office, and walked in.

I didn't know exactly what to do, so I waited at the empty desk marked "Reception" until a lady at another desk called me over after she got off the telephone. She was the only other person there, as far's I could ken.

"May I help?" she asked, putting a bunch of papers into a basket on her desk. She looked like a lady I saw once on a theatre poster, grey hair on top of her head an' black-rim glasses. She had powder on her face, an' smelled of some kinda perfume, an' seemed nice. Her name was "Jane Truscott,:" according to the blue sign on the desk.

"I'm not in school," I said. "I need to find a job."

"How old are you?"

"I turned sixteen in August," I said exactly as I had rehearsed a thousand times, hoping I wasn't blushing.

"What "O" levels did you take?" she said, taking a piece of paper from her desk.

"I didn't sit any," I said, looking as honest as I could. "I stopped going to school when I was eight."

"Eight?" she said with a small surprised voice. "Where have you been since then?"

"Me brother an' me ran away," I said. "We been on the streets in the East End since then."

"Eight years?" she said. "Never had care in Social Services?" Her voice was still surprised, but mixed with suspicion and doubt.

"We was afraid they'd make us go back," I said. "Me Mum's boyfriends were shaggin' us, an' we . . . "

Mrs. Truscott gave a little cry and put her hand to her mouth. Her eyes said she was gonna be sick and cry at the same time. "Stop!" she said. "I don't want to hear any details! I understand! Do you have an I.D.?"

"No, Mum," I said with as much shame as I could.

"You'll have to go to the DSS and get a card that says you can work," she said, suddenly all professional again. "You know where they are?"

"No. Mum."

"It takes a week or two, but you should get one all right, even if there's no birth records. You have to give the police a statement, and I think your thumbprint, and the DSS takes information and traces your parents and finds out if there are any birth records at all. If there aren't they give you a birthdate as close as they can approximate, and issue a temporary I.D. until all the searches are complete."

I felt a ray of hope.

"I'm going to call a colleague at the DSS, ask her what you should do next," she said. "Don't worry, this won't get you in any trouble."

She picked up the handset on her desk and dialled a number from a list under her plastic mat, and looked at me as she waited for an answer. She didn't act unfriendly. Curious, maybe.

"Dorothy? . . . Good morning! Janie here . . . Yes, isn't it! . . . Of course . . . Well, I have a young man here, a Mr. " she waited for me to give my name.  "Noel Allen . . . yes . . . he needs a work permission I.D. . . . " She lowered her voice. "He's no school records . . . yes, in the East End . . . No, says he never . . . yes . . . I think probably yes . . .  when? Just now . . . Shall I send him over now? . . . Oh . . . Alright . . ."

She put her hand over the mouthpiece and gave me a smile. "Could you go there tomorrow morning at nine thirty?"

"Where is it?"

"Right here in Richmond, just down the road and to the east a few blocks."

"I guess," I said. I wanted to ask if I could get in any trouble or nothin' but she was back on the telephone right away.

"Nine thirty is fine, Dorothy. . . . I wouldn't, no . . . I think you can . . . would you like to talk to him now? . . . I'll put him on . . . from the private one, I should think . . . just a minute . . . " she put the receiver down on the desk.

"Noel, would you come with me?  Mrs. Tuttle, of the DSS wants just a word in private before you go." She took me into a little glassed-in room, just a round table two chairs and a telephone. "Don't pick up until it rings," she said, closing the door as I sat where I could watch her, in case she called Old Bill.

She didn't lock it, anyway, and went back to her desk and punched the buttons on the telephone. My hands were sweaty. The telephone in front of me chirped, instead of ringing, and I grabbed the handset, not sure of what to say.

"Noel. when I hang up, you'll have her on the line. Don't worry about her -- she's a nice old dragon. Known her for yonks."

Somehow, that was reassuring, especially with the smile she gave me as I watched her talking to me. She put the handset down, and I couldn't hear her office noise any more.

"Hello?" said a voive on the other end. "Is this Mr. Allen?" She had a North London accent, probably.

"Yes'm,"  I said. I didn't know what else to say.

"Are you all right?" she asked. "I mean, you have a place to stay, food and all?"

"Yes'm," I answered, surprised she'd ask that before anything else.

"I understand you've just turned sixteen, have no school records, no I.D., but want to work?"


"Well, we can help. When you come see me tomorrow, I want you to be sure of five things. Are you ready?"


"First, we will not have the police here. Second, you will be able to leave, at any time you choose, if you feel uncomfortable. Third, we will do everything we can to help you. Fourth, if you need medical attention, we will make sure you get it at once. Fifth, if you need financial assistance, we will get it for you. All right?"

"Am I in any trouble?" I asked.

"That's my question," said Mrs Tuttle. "As far as I know, you are in none until you tell me you are. Will you come see me tomorrow morning?"

"Yes'm," I answered. Mrs Truscott was writing, not looking at me, not telephoning.


"Promise," I said breathing out the breath I had somehow stored up.

"Good. From where you are, you walk two streets up the high street, the river on your right, then two streets to your left, cross the street to number 33, take the lift to the third floor, and ask for me. I sit in a glassed office right in front of the lift, so take a look before you ask for me if you want. We only have coffee out of a machine, I'm afraid, but it's better than nothing. The hot chocolate is better. Did you understand the directions?"


"Just in case I forgot something, would you repeat them to me?"

"Yes'm." I said, then recited back to her the directions she'd given me.

"Good," she said. "Anything else?"

"I like hot chocolate," I said. "Mum."

"All the better!" she said with a light laugh. "Until tomorrow, then." She rang off.

I got out of the chair and went over to Mrs. Truscott's desk to thank her, then left. My armpits were wet, but I felt pretty damn good.

"We have lots of entry-level job vacancies, Noel," Mrs. Truscott called as I opened the door to go out. "We should find you something as soon as you have your permission from the DSS."

I walked two feet off the pavement for the rest of the day. I found a couple of nice big potatoes at a greengrocer in a little alleyway off the High Street, right close to the Tube -- just 27p. Then I walked across the street to the bus stop, just opposite the Tube. The driver was the same woman what brought me in, I spent so little time in town. She told me I should get my bus pass renewed and didn't let me pay for the return trip, which I thought was real nice.

We slowly went back through town, me looking at all the shops, the people bustling. They was all pretty well dressed. When we got up to where the bus had turned from the bridge, we turned right, towarsds the bridge, and OI looked back down the High strret. It's a pretty place, Richmond. The Thames was high, muddy and swift from the rains of last week.

I almost missed the stop for Kurt's street, because I didn't recognize it from the other direction, but the driver knew it, and stopped for me anyway. Some people have 'nice' written in their genes.

I unlocked the door with the key Kurt gave me, and put it in the same dish he kept his keys in when he came in, and carefully put the £5.28 in change back by the telephone. It was only eleven. I din't have nothin' to do, so I started cleaning the loo, where I saw some dust balls that morning, and then I found Kurt's Hoover in the cupboard, so I Hoovered everything good. There was only a little dirt. When it got to half-twelve, I stopped and ate two thick pieces of bread with a thin slice of chicken and a big piece of lettuce, but no tomato 'cause I'd have to cut a new one just for a slice for me. I used only a little butter, so he'd have plenty for that night. I drank a bottle of milk, right out of the bottle so's I wouldn't get a glass dirty. It was thick and creamy, especially at the top, and I drank almost all of it in a go. I washed up the dishes and then made the cabinets and the microwave and toaster oven shine inside and out. The windows got a good dust, but I didn't try to wipe the glass. Might smear them. The bath got a once-over, at first just where I hadn't cleaned it yesterday -- or was it the day before? -- but then I wiped the sink and tub again anyway, and it was only three. Two hours and a half before he came home.

I set the table like he did, but I couldn't remember which side the fork went on, so I put them all on top of the paper serviettes on the right of the plates. I scrubbed the potatoes good, and put then in a pot with water ready for him to boil, then sat on the chair to wait for him. I saw his books, and there was a dictionary, a atlas, a thick Bible, a book called a "Thesaurus," and a whole shelf of stories. I took the one called "Christine" and started to read it. I had to use the dictionary a lot, so I moved to the table, so's to have both of them open at the same time, and read until it started to get dark, and the print in the dictionary was too small to see. It wasn't dark outside, just the sun was on the other side of the house, and not enough light came in through the windows to reach the table. I din't want to make him pay the Electricity board jus' fer me to read.

I put the books back real careful, remembering the page I was on, and sat on the ledge by the window waiting for him to come up the pavement. He got home at 26 minutes past five, and I opened the door just as he got there so he wouldn't have to unlock it. I kept it locked, of course, just in case.

The first thing I got was a kiss, then he switched on the lights and said how clean the flat looked, and why was I sitting in the dark all alone without the music on? He said music was one of the most important parts of life, and I should never pass up the chance to listen to it if I could. I didn't tell him I was afraid to touch his stereo, but he showed me how easy it was to just turn it on and change the station if I wanted. I wanted to tell him about Mrs. Truscott and Mrs. Tuttle, but I didn't want to sound like a fool, so I waited for the right moment.

We ate steaks for tea. Thick ones, and bloody red inside so they were tender and tasty. I was pretty hungry, so I ate faster than him, and finished before he did. He said his potato was more than he wanted, and gave me almost half of his. I ate it slow, so we finished at the same time, which seemed like the right thing.

He asked me if I ate lunch, and when I said "yes" he asked me why I didn't have more chicken, and no tomato, and another sandwich. I told him I didn't want to be a pig and eat all his food, and he got fake mad, and told me that he didn't want me to share his home unless I ate enough to put meat on my bones, and he never wanted me to be hungry under his roof. When he asked me if I was hungry after I ate lunch, I told him no, but that a couple of hours later I was. He said I should have a piece of fruit out of the bowl if ever I was hungry, any time. I thought he must have fallen on his head as a kid. No, it was too nice to look at. He was serious. Wow!

We went for a walk after tea, up the Thames from Richmond Bridge, and that's when I told him about the DSS appointment the next morning. I told him the whole thing, and he didn't think I done anything the wrong way. He even gave me a hug and a kiss, right there on the path, not ten feet from a pair of guys walking a dog. They just smiled at us when they went by.

He made love to me that night again, right after I seduced him. I took him into my throat, and made love to him, his whole body, and he let me. I felt like magic. Like there was nobody but us on the whole planet. He took me in his mouth, and made me moan and almost holler, it felt so good to give him my stuff. We kissed and whispered a while, then we slept in the same position as before, and I felt like I belonged like that forever. I didn't have the Nightmare at all. Every time I woke up, he was just there, holding me, loving me, and me him.

The next morning, I traced my steps back to the DSS. It was a different bus driver, but she told me how to get my schoolbus pass, seein' as how I had just moved to Isleworth. I had time before nine-thirty, so I went to the Tube Station window to get the pass, but I had to have an I.D., of course. I just said I forgot it. Besides, it cost ten quid for a year, and I only took the £5.28 from the plate Kurt put the money on, leaving the tenner and the twenty there so's they'd be safe.

I got to the third floor of the office block at nine twenty-seven. There was no clock downstairs, so I didn't know I was early until the lift door opened.

There was only two people in the office, one a old guy, maybe forty, in a coat and tie, and a grandmother in a tan jumper and blue dress. She shooed him out of her office and walked towards me.

She was shorter than me by at least six inches, and I felt no threat as she smiled and said "Are you Noel?" and didn't even wait for me to answer yes or no, just went right on. "I'm so glad you could come! I'd offer you coffee, but it's so dreadful out of our machine, I recommend the hot chocolate, and I have a few biscuits we can nibble as we talk." I guess she forgot I said I liked hot chocolate.

She took my hand and shook it just like we were old friends, with both of hers, and steered me to this machine right next to the lift and pushed the button for hot chocolate before I could get a word out.

"I'm glad to see you dressed warm, we're supposed to get rain this afternoon, and a cold front through Cardiff, so it will soon be chilly again. What a nice impression you give! A little on the thin side to be sure, but you youngsters grow so fast, it's impossible to get enough food in to keep up, I know," and on and on. I liked her at once. Just like a grandmum. She even looked a little like the Queen Mum, just not so old.

Then we got into her glass office, and she changed tone real quick, got real quiet as we sat down at her desk, which wasn't really a desk, but a table with a skirt.

"Now, Noel, before you say anything, I want you to know that nothing you say will go outside these walls unless you tell me it can, clear?"

I just nodded, siping at the hot chocolate. It wasn't bad.

"First, tell me. Are you in any . . . trouble now? With the police or with somebody else?"

"No'm" I said. "I'm staying with a friend in Isleworth 'til I can find me feet."

"How long have you been there?" She pulled a plate of wheat biscuits out of the air while I was talking. They tasted good.

"Since Saturday."

"And before?"

"Wi' me brother, Frankie, in a squat."

"Where is he now?"

"I don't know. 'e took me to a cottage way out and left me there. I ain't gone back to look fer 'im."

"Tell me," she said.


"As much as you want,' she said.

So I told the story again, about how Frankie hid me in teh cupboard to keep me from gettin' shagged like he was, except for I was probably eight when we went on the lam, how we kept out of the hands of the DSS so I wouldn't get sent to a Home and not be with Frankie, how he took care of me. What he did to get money. How I was going to go on the game with him, but I was no good at it, how I got took to the Black Room. I thought she would have some kind of reaction to the part about the game, but she just sat there and listened, asked an occasional question, like had I ever been shagged by me Mum's boyfriends, and I said I'd never got shagged, ever. She said I was lucky that way, a lot of guys got Aids that way. I told her Frankie told me all about it, but he did it sometimes without a condom, like almost everybody on the game did when a punter paid enough.

I saw her looking at the burn mark that sticks up above me collar on the left side. Especially after I told her about the Black Room.

She asked me if I had gone to a hospital for the stuff on my back, and when I told her no, she said she wanted me to go, and told me a doctor's name at the clinic, and made an appointment on the telephone for two o'clock for me to go. Then she asked me if I could read and write, and I told her reading was okay, as long as I had a dictionary, but I couldn't write too good. She got a folder out from a shelf under the table and opened it, and filled out some spaces on some forms.

"This is going to take a little while for us to fill out," she said. "More hot chocolate?"

My cup was empty. I looked at her and said "Yes, please, Mum," and she raised her hand and mouthed out "Choc o late" after a second, and raised two fingers. Not rude, just to show she wanted two of 'em. I looked around, and there was maybe ten people in the office, but I hadn't heard none of 'em, so I knew what I was sayin' nobody else heard. Still, there were a lot of 'em. No coppers . . .

"Don't worry, Noel," Mrs. Tuttle said soft like. "They all know that if you want to leave, nobody is to stop you. I gave you my word."

I looked in her eyes and could tell she was telling truth.

"Now, I'm afraid, there are more questions," she said as this tall lady brought in two more cups of chocolate on a little brown tray. put them on the table in fron of us and left, after Mrs. Tuttle introduced me as a new client, Mr. Allen. That felt pretty okay.

The questions were about what I expected. Where was I born ("Essex, Mum. Brentwood, I thinks"), when ("Me brother don't remember. Either August or September, Mum.") Year? (1974, Mum) Are you sure? (Yes, Mum. Me brother told me I was ten in 1984, an' I remember The Wedding in 1981, 'sause I was still at home, an" I was six.) Brothers? (Frank, born 1971, May 1, Mum) Sisters? (No'm.") School? (Not as I knew, Mum.) Current Address (I don't know, Mum.) Last address? (I gave the address of the Rooming House - I had no reason to protect the landlord) How Long There (three or four years, Mum.) How did I spend my days (Libraries, Museums, Tube Stations, anyplace warm, Mum.) Was I ever raped (Buggered?) yes (No, Mum.) Did I ever bugger anybody? (Once, with a Condom, Mum.) Did I ever have a blood test (No'm.) was I ever sick (Just colds -- I had them a lot, Mum.) What was my mother's name (I don't know - I never called her but Mum, Mum.) My father? (Never met him -- he buggered off when I was born, me Mum said, Mum.) Who was I living with?(A friend, Mum.) Name? (No, Mum. I can't say unless he tells me it's okay.) Did I feel safe with him? (yes, Mum.) Did I have any income? (No, Mum.) Had I ever filed a claim? (For what, Mum?) The Dole? (No, Mum.) Why not? (I don't think I outta get it - I ain't never worked yet, Mum.) . . .

It took two hours. Miz Tuttle took me to lunch in the cafe in the basement. Beef stew and carrots on potatoes, rolls and butter, milk and bread pudding. We took another hour for more forms, then she took me to the clinic in her little Mini, took me right into the doctor's office, past the receptionist, who just said "Hi Dorothy," and went back to typing on a computer. She sat in the waiting room while I was with the Doc, a Pakistani what spoke perfect English. First, he poked and prodded my back. He said there was no infections, and that the scars would be faint. He gave me some more cream, just like Frankie boosted, to have put on my back erery morning, and gave me a tetanus shot. Didn't hurt at all. He pinched the skin somehow so's I didn't feel the needle.

He asked me if I had ever had measles and mumps and stuff, and I said I didn't know, so I got a few more shots, one for Polio, one for childhood diseases like Mumps and Measles and Chicken Pox and Scarlet Fever, and one for Smallpox. I felt like a backwards hedgehog, but Doctor Salim said I needed to have immunity. He took a few blood samples through a needle right into a vein in me arm, and it didn't hurt at all, except a little sting. He said I had good veins, considering as how I was so thin. He wanted to look at my privates, and I let him, afraid I would get a hard, but nothing happened. He was gonna put a finger in me bum, but I said there was no way I would let him do that - he just laughed and said I would probably not need to have it done until I was fifty, anyway. I asked him why he wanted to put it up me, then, and he laughed again and said that if I let him right away, I might think I had a disease up there, and he'd have to check real careful. I told him nothing ever went in, it had a one-way EXIT sign on it, and he laughed pretty loud. He used a loop to look in me hairs in the privates and on me head, and gave me some cream he said I had to use to wash me hair on top and down there every day for a week. He asked me if I slept in the same bed as anybody else, and when I said yes, he gave me another tube of it for Kurt. I asked him why, and he said because I had body lice, only a few, but they were probably what made me itch down there.

"How'd you know I itch?"

"Everybody itches when they get lice," he said. "Pesky devils, are they."

"Where'd I get them?"

"Probably sleeping with some one who had them, real close and naked. Either that or a mattress that someone who had them slept on a few hours before you did."

"The Crabs?" I asked him. Frankie had them once. He said they were disgusting, bad fer business.

"Yes. In your pubic area," he said. "Head lice in you hair." So I learned a new word: 'Pubic' - the area around me dick an' bollocks.

That meant either Frankie, Kurt, or a mattress gave me the Crabs and head lice.. Frankie was the obvious suspect, but I chose the mattress as the guilty party.

He said I was too thin, was I eating all right. I told him I wasn't, but my friend was making sure I ate regular now, and made me swallow a vitamin pill every morning that had 100% of the Daily Value of almost every vitamin and mineral except Biotin, Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Chloride and Potassium, like I read on the back label in the little print on the plastic tin that Kurt got his tablets in, and he made me drink a pinta every day, and let me eat all the fruit I wanted. He seemed satisfied with that, and wrote something on his folder.

I got out at three fifteen, and Mrs Tuttle took me back into Richmond. On the way, she asked me if I had enough money. I told her I had £4.83 after my bus fare, but it wasm't really mine, it was Kurt's..We parked her car under the building and went back up to her office. She had me wait in the glass cage for a few minutes while she made a few arrangements, then came in with a flimsy-looking piece of paper.

"Right," she said. "The blood tests show you have not been exposed to Hepatitus A, B, or C, you have no Aids virus, you're slightly anaemic, you have no communicable diseases, and your immune system is fine. You're in excellent health, but undernourished. Nothing your current diet won't take care of. You probably need some dental work."

"Me teeth is okay, I think," I said. "I ain't never had no toothaches."

"They need cleaning and a check-up," she grinned at me. "Granny knows best."


"Now, sign this piece of paper," she said."It's just a receipt for your first week."

"What first week?" I asked.

"Public assistance," she said. "You'll get £37 and 50p a week until you get a job."

"Why?" I asked. "Ain't never worked."

"You will. You'll pay it all back in taxes, and more. What you pay beyond what you've received will go to help someone else like you. It's part of being a Good Samaritan, except everybody helps, some more than others."

I signed, and she gave me a cream-coloured pay packet envelope. I stuffed it into me pocket without looking. I never had that much money of me own before.

"You need to come back to see me next Thursday. Thursday week."

"For more money?" I asked.

"That, and your temporary I.D. if we can get all the paperwork done."

"Super!" I said. I almost felt like hugging her. "C'n I go now?"

"You're free," she said. "Is there a number where I can reach you if I need to?"

"I have to ask," I said. "I can't give out the number without permission."

"I will never give it to anyone else," she said. "You can tell him that, if he's worried about the police or anything."

I wondered how she knew. That Kurt was a guy, I mean.

I rushed home to be sure and get there before Kurt. He was gonna be an hour later than Monday night, because he played squash after work. I turned on the stereo and left the station on Radio Four. There was a big orchestra playing, and it was exciting. I set the table, knowing from the other night now where the forks went. Then I read "Christine" as the music surrounded me. The announcer said it was Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, with chorus, and I tried to make sure and remember the music and the composer and the title, because it was good. Then there was Mozart, a symphony he wrote when he was younger than me, and I was gob-struck, it was so pretty. Not the same as Beethoven, not as rich, but just as complicated. I even stopped reading during part of it, the same as when they played the big chorus part in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Kurt got back alost at seven, and I barely heard him coming up the walk, I was so absorbed looking up words in the dictionary and listening to yet another composer called Vivaldi and a Concerto for violon called Extravaganza. It was almost a jig, completely different from the others.

Kurt gave me one of his clock-stopper kisses when I opened the door. We made a salad for supper with a big can of tuna, lettuce and tomato, then  went to the Y. Kurt lifted a jillion pounds of weights, lots of repetitions, and I started at almost nothing on the machines. A muscle queen that worked there worked me up a programme to start, so I could build on it and put on some meat. He almost drooled when he looked at Kurt, but I think he understood that wasn't a good idea after I dropped a hint that I heard it hurt a lot if somebody dropped a ten-kilo weight on a guy's toes when he wasn't looking in the right place, just as he was staring at Kurt's crutch while he was on his back doing crunches.

'Ronnie' looked at me sharply, looked back at Kurt, again at me and said "Yours?"


"Sorry." We never had a problem after that. Ronnie was polite, correct, circumspect and cautious. He kept all his toes, too.

Later, in the pool, I just watched Kurt when he swam. He was as fluid as the water, nothing but graceful. He wanted me to come in, but I guess he forgot I had the marks all over my back, and besides, I didn't know how to swim. On the way home, he promised to teach me.

We went to bed early, after we ate some crackers and two different kinds of cheeses and drank a pinta each. Kurt said it was important to drink lots of fluid after a work-out. We showered and shampooed with the special tubes. With the lights out, we talked a little about our day, his at the Embassy, mine at the DSS. Not for long, as we made love twice before we got to sleep. I don't know why, but I kept count of all the times we made love together, then stopped after we reached a thousand. Silly, I guess. To stop, I mean.

I saw that every time we made love together, we were more tender, kinda, there was more emphasis on that than on the coming, and that seemed somehow to make the coming even better. We ended up more and more in a sixty-nine position, stopping every couple of minutes to kiss each other in a mass of arms and legs all bunched in a ball, until we took each other past the stop sign and came deep inside each other. I liked watching the underside of his dick as it pulsed his stuff into my throat.

Every day, I went into Richmond to talk to Mrs. Truscott about the kinds of jobs that I might do, the things I needed to know and do in order to get a good one. Kurt said he thought I needed to use better English, and to read and write better. He spent a lot of time with me explaining what words went with what others, like "my" was possessive and "me" was reflexive, and how "your" and "you're" were used, not yer all the time. I got it right more and more.

Sunday morning, Kurt and I ran together for the first time. He took it slow, and we had to stop three times for me to catch me - my - breath, but we were both sweaty and gloriously horny when we got back, and we made love on the carpet as soon as we got in. It was wonderful. We had showers and Wheetabix -- my all-time favorite cereal, after just two days -- with strawberries and hot milk, then went to church. I was afraid I was going to look out of place, because we didn't dress up, but we weren't the only ones. The pastor even thanked us both for coming, personally, as we walked out the door after the service. I never went to church before that, so it was all kinda - kind of - strange. I liked singing the hymns next to Kurt, his deep bass voice and my almost baritone mixing well. I tried to follow the baritones in the choir as I sang, and I think I got some of it right. He sings beautiful, and people looked at him and smiled a lot when he sang.

The sermon was about the loaves and fishes, and how Christ was showing that the very rich had the ability as well as the responsability to reach out to the hungry and poor with true sustenance, for both body and spirit. The pastor said that salvation was through Jesus Christ and good moral conduct. I wondered more if the loaves and fishes weren't meant to be Love and Knowledge, which you can give to someone again and again and never run out, and feed their souls. I expected lightning bolts as we left the church, a picture perfect C. of E. edifice, but I got away with it.

On Thursday the week after, I went to the DSS office at nine-thirty, and Mrs. Tuttle had a big envelope in the file. We opened it, but it was all wrong. It showed that somebody named Henrietta Allen had lived in Chelmsford, but died in 1975 at the age of 101. She had no children, being a spinster. This was clearly not me -- my -- Mum, and Mrs. Tuttle penned a pretty sharp note to the Records section. I laughed when she read it to me. She mentioned that it was "seldom my experience that the fertile mind of an active but childless spinster Centenarian could imagine the experience of giving birth to a child, much less have her body follow suit."

"Mrs Tuttle?" I asked just as I was about to leave. "I spoke to my friend about the telephone number and you wanting it. He said it was for me to decide."

"And?" she asked gently.

"If there is ever any . . . scandal, he could lose his job, and have to go home without me."

"I see," she said. She just sat there, making me say it.

"I don't think I could bear that," I said. "He means more to me than anybody."

She waited.

"I love him, and I think he loves me."

She said nothing still.

"I know he does."

"That's all that counts, then," she said. "Here's my home number. Ask your friend to call me when he has time."

But I still had no I.D., and I expressed my disappointment to Mrs. Truscott later that morning. She said, almost conspiratorially, that there were often more than four roads to Rome. I didn't have a clue as to what she was thinking, and wondered if she was not, also, in a like state of ignorance. But she was wiser than me, by many years.

That night, after we had tea and went out for our walk, I told Kurt about what Mrs.Tuttle had said. No, what I had said. Word for word.

He looked down at me and said "I'm glad you told me you told her that."

I looked at him kind of funny, I guess. As if I didn't know why he said that.

"I didn't know if you were sure," he said.

When we got back to the flat, Kurt called her.

"4963," answered Mrs. Tuttle. I still found that a disconcerting way to answer the telephone, but most English people we called seemed to use this instead of "Hello."

"Mrs. Tuttle, this is Noel Allen's friend," he said into the receiver after a few seconds. "Yes," he said. "I am. I would like to switch on the speaker so he can hear what we say, if I may. Of course."

"Hello, Noel," said Mrs. Tuttle.

"Hi, Mrs. Tuttle," I responded lamely.

"Mrs. Tuttle, you understand my reservations?" asked Kurt.

"Yes," she replied. "I'd not thought you might be American military."

Kurt looked at me sharply. "Why do you say military, Mrs. Tuttle?"

"Well, the diplomatic service would never dismiss a valuable staff member simply because he was gay," she said. Her voice sounded light, almost girlish, flirting. "Neither would the State Department, the Commerce Department, the Agricultural Department, the FBI, the CIA, or any of the other branches of your government with which I have any familiarity."

"How vulnerable are you, Kurt?" she asked after neither Kurt nor I spoke for a second.

"How do you know my name?"  he asked.

"When someone loves you as much as Noel loves you, it is hardly possible to hide the name of the beloved," she said. "He dropped your name when we were talking about coffee and hot chocolate. He said 'Kurt and I only drink coffee in the morning.' and I had no difficulty making the connection."

I felt like a traitor. Kurt caressed my neck, which helped a lot.

"I'm . . . military attached to the Embassy," Kurt replied.

"High profile?" she asked.

"No, I'm just a grunt," Kurt said, a little sadly.

"Security, then." Mrs Tuttle said.

Kurt blanched. Really. Pale white in two seconds.

"Do you work with Tom and Rod?" I had no idea who she was talking about.

"Yes, M'am," Kurt hissed.

"Fine young men," she said. "They give much time to the community."

"I don't know what you mean." said Kurt.

"They man the American line of the Gay Hotline," she said. "The suicide prevention desk as well as the 'Older Gays' counselling service."

"Oh. I didn't know that,"  Kurt said softly.

"Very fine young men. I've known them since they first met," said Mrs. Tuttle.

"Oh?" Kurt answered automatically.

"Yes, back in '87 I think it was," Mrs. Tuttle said. "Tom was just getting off the Hotline, and Rod brought in a young Jamaican from Brixton who had been on suicide watch at Guy's after he drank some lye or something, but had run out smehow. The boy panicked at some point and pulled out a knife from somewhere and cut Tom and Rod a little on the hands as they tried to keep him from slashing his wrists. No one seriously hurt, at least not physically, but they all went to hospital, as it happens the one where I was working at the time. I got the call, and went to the ward where the most unpleasant scene unfolded, the Jamaican denying that he had made love with his boyfriend, his father threatening to emasculate the both of them, Tom trying to calm the lot down, and Rod just watching the whole lot of them become donkeys. Rod managed to pop the Father's bubble about there being no such thing as blacks who were gay, and the son and his lover eventually got together, and Tom and Rod met. Not a bad night's work at all, I should say."

"What's that got to do with this?" asked Kurt.

"Well, of course, you could always ask them if I was trustworthy," Mrs Tuttle said. "I mean, if you had any reason to think we might accomplish something more significant and lasting together, rather than separately -- if at all. Of course, now we must act quickly if we are to save lives."

"Whose lives?"

"Why, yours and Noel's of course. Perhaps Frank, but I fear it may be too late for that. Then there's always the third son. I don't know enough about him yet."

"What are you talking about?" asked Kurt. He was no more clear on things than I.

"Why, Noel had two brothers," said Mrs. Tuttle. "Frank was the oldest, and there was another."

"What do you want from me?" Kurt asked.

"Nothing more than you are giving now," she said. "Noel is making fine progress, wouldn't you say?"


"Let's keep things on an even pitch, shall we? You give me your number when you're ready, I'll promise never to reveal it -- or anything else I know about you -- to anyone.


"Good night, then, Kurt. Good night, Noel. See you Thursday," she said.

We both said goodnight to her, and  Kurt hung up the telephone just as I started unbuttoning his shirt. He let me take him all the way down my throat, so I could get him completely inside me, and kept telling me how he loved me all the way through. After he had come back to earth, he took me, too, and got me almost into his throat, but the head is too wide. I think Mrs. Byrne, who lived upstairs and rented the flat to Kurt, must have heard me scream when I came into Kurt's loving mouth.

I saw Mrs. Byrne a lot when I was at home during the day. She was always tending her roses in the front, and we talked some after it was confirmed that I was staying with Kurt. Her husband had died when her son was killed in a construction accident in the sixties, I learned, and she was pretty lonely. She made us pies sometimes. I did some shopping for her when her game legs were too swollen for her to walk to the bus. She never smiled  much, mostly when she was tending her roses or telling me about the old days before the big jets started to fly overhead. Her an' her husband had 'herited the house from her mother in 1955, but lived there all the time they was married. Her mother lived in Kurt's flat until she died, but ther was a doorway from the room to the main downstairs lounge, then.

Anyway, I saw her the next morning after I got back from my run, adn she gave me one of her rare big smiles. She never said she heard us making noise except that once, when she said it was nice to have the feeling that there was some happiness in the house again. I was speechless -- whenever my face gets hot, my tongue doesn't work. I helped her for a while to roust out some pesky elk grass around her roses, digging deep to get out the roots, and carried the lot to her composting bin in the back of her huge vegetable garden. I'm sure she was totally sefl-sufficient most of the year, excepy got the meats and dairy I got for her at market..

The very next evening, Kurt brought me home a magnificent Oxford from his work, four volumes, all bound in leather, the pages as fine as parchment. I spent every afternoon pouring though its pages, "Christine" long exhausted, "The Talisman" no longer a challenge. I began to read "The Firm," and an even better novel, "A Time to Kill" from the shelf, as well as to go to the Library, just near Richmond Bridge. I found a library card, and used it shamelessly until I got my I.D. I read the biographies of Beethoven and Mozart and Hayden and Bach. I made Kurt rent "Amadeus," and we watched it at least half a dozen times. Well, I did. When I wasn't up to a lot in the mornings, and Mrs. Byrne wasn't in need of some help. (Kurt and me painted her wood one weekend that summer, and moved a lot of furniture around for her upstairs another weekend. She had a lot of old things from her family. Kurt said he thought they were pretty valuable antiques, so he put on a heavy latch for her on each of the front and back doors.)

I even read all about the stone circles I could find, and "Sarum," but that was heavy going, and didn't really tell me that much. Well quite a bit about how the U.K. got started, I guess.

It wasn't until the week after Spring Bank Holiday that I finally got my temporarty I.D. Helen Allen had lived at 133 Flint Road, Brentwood, I think it was, and had three children: Frank, born September 17, 1970, Terrance, born in either August or September 1974, when he was added to the dole payment, and another child in August, 1976 but for whom no name was listed in the DSS records, because no dole money was ever paid out. Fingerprints were on file only for Frank. He had been arrested three times for "unsavoury conduct" in London, but there were no baby prints or school registrations for any of the children. Helen Allen had died in November 1985 at the age of 29 from a ruptured cerebral artery while giving birth to an apparently still-born child at home, father unknown, no midwife in attendance, blood alcohol levels more than three times the legal limit for determining intoxication, and drugs of unspecified nature, meaning heroin or cocaine.

I didn't feel nothin' when I found out me Mum was dead. I mean, I barely remembered her, and not her face at all, for some reason. I felt guilty about that. Not remembering, I mean. Kurt and me talked about it a lot, and he helped me understand that I had nothing to be ashamed of, that it was her that threw me away, not me what dumped her.

We were settling into a dream I was always afraid would end if I pinched myself. I loved Kurt so much I couldn't tell him, because I couldn't express it. We just seemed to fit together so well, there was no room for doubt in my mind. He loved me, too, just the same, except he was always going through this guilt trip about me being under sixteen, even when I had an I.D. that proved that I wasn't, that made us legal.

My I.D. read "Terrance Noel Allen," born 30 September 1974, the latest date that fell within the Dole payment window. Mrs. tuttle said that no birth records were found in the computerized files in Cardiff, but that a search was being made of the general paper files from Essex that were transferred to Cardiff when the Births Registry got moved there in the late '70s. It could take months for anything to surface, as the computer records were being recreated for some districts. I didn't care - I was already off the Dole!

Even before I got the I.D., Mrs. Truscott and Mrs. Tuttle got me a DSS waiver, and helped me get a job as a stocking clerk in ComputerStat, the computer and software shop. I started AE a couple of weeks later.

"I got a post," I told Kurt when he got in that Tuesday. He had no idea what I was talking about.

"A post?"

"You know," I said. "A job!"


"Aye! I saw this sign at the Employment Exchange for a floor position at Compuwarehouse," I told him. "It's only part-time, and I just stock and package for customers, but it's a job! I get £45 a week for 25 hours, five days from one to close. It's right on the bus line downtown, and the manager is a really cool lady."

"What about the DSS I.D.?" he asked. "I mean, won't you have a problem when you give them your real birthdate? When the DSS finds out, I mean?"

"All covered," I said. "Mrs. Truscott told them that I din't have it yet, but Mrs. Tuttle was handling my case, and they offerred me the job straight away!"

He took me to a little restaurant in Richmond to celebrate, and I got a glass of wine with dinner. The waiter was a poofter, and saw we were together and celebrating something, so he put an extra glass on the table and let Kurt pour. We walked to the car hand-in-hand, and it was just amazing. The Sun was already set, and the Moon rising behind us as we crossed Richmond Bridge to where we left the car. We stopped in the middle of the bridge and looked over the water at some pale pink clouds, way up high.

"I love you, Champ," he said for the tenth time that day.

Every time he says it, I feel like I did the first time he said it, all shivery inside, and teary in my chest, and so proud to be the one he says it to, I suppose I'm being sinful, but I don't care.

I turned to him and said my love back to him, and he kissed me, right proper, right there on the bridge. Somebody honked and whistled at us, but it wasn't yobbos, because it was a fun whistle, no shouts.

That was the night we broke fifty. Amazing how fast they add up.

Kurt and I went to the Y every other night during the week and did weights for an hour or so, then he taught me to swim, and I got up to twenty laps in the pool in the time he does fifty in just a few weeks. I ran every morning, but after he left for work during the week, because he was too fast for me, and I didn't want him to hold back. Saturday and Sundays, we ran together, because we did a shorter route. I got so I could keep up with him, even after he stopped the cigarettes in June.

By our birthday, I was up to nine and a half stone (133 pounds on Kurt's scale. I had to divide by fourteen every time I got on it until he bought a "Euro-Scale" that showed Kilogrammes, Stone, and Pounds. I grew, too. Not enough to catch up a lot on Kurt, but at least enough to see over his shoulder if I stood up straight. I started to fill out a little too, so's you could see a few of my muscles between skin and bone. Kurt said I was getting what he calls "wiry." He said I'd never get fat, because I never had any fat cells as a kid. I didn't understand what he meant, at least not then. He was right -- as always, which can get a little annoying at times.

I gave him a gold chain with a protestant cross for our first birthday together. Not one of those 9 ct. things you find in the shiny shops, but one I got in a Jewelery in the City. It was an 18 kt.chain and cross, and the salesman told me it was plenty strong. He was a poofter, too, and when I told him it was for my friend, he knew. It was on sale, and he took another ten percent off, but it was still a lot of money, almost two hundred fifty pounds, and I only had £200. When I told him I really wanted it, but I would have to wait a couple of weeks to find the extra fifty pounds, he went in the back room with the cross and chain, and I thought he was going to put it away for me to come back with all the money. Instead, he came back with it all wrapped up in a beautiful silver paper with a gold ribbon and bow, and took my £200 for it. He said they found a tiny scratch on one of the links, so the owner had agreed that I should only pay half-price for it.

We woke up early on Tuesday, 13 August. I "raped" Kurt before he woke, taking his stuff greedily, tasting his love again and again as he pumped into me. When he went soft, I moved up and kissed him and said "Happy Birthday,"  and pulled his present out from under the bed where I hid it the night before. He didn't see it right away, because he had rolled over to his side of the sofa and pulled something out from under the bed.

Our packages were wrapped identically, the same size and everything. In my package there was a beautiful gold cross, identical to his, but engraved "Noel" on the four links of the chain surrounding the clasp. We put them on each other and dissolved in kisses and a tear or two of pure happiness. He took me before he went on his run, and I thought my bollocks had slipped through the hole in my dick, straight into his mouth. That night, we hit 199 before supper, and 200 later (as well as 201 sometime before morning).

I studied hard in the morning after my run, cleaned the flat a little if it needed it, went to work after lunch, had tea at five at work, then went to school from six-thirty to eight. >From there it was either to the Y or home for some early loving, then to bed. Weekends, we explored London, unless I had to work at the shop. I got put on the registers in July, and in August, Toni, my manager, asked me if I wanted to learn the software enough to sell it. Her philosophy is that you don't just sell something to a customer, you find out what he needs, make sure you have the right package to fit his needs, then show the customer how it will work for him. We had a lot of happy customers. I got a rise, as well as a commission on the sales I made, less four times the returns. I had no returns, except one guy who decided to upgrade before he installed the basic accounts package he bought, and Toni said I didn't have to debit my commission account.

Kurt surprised me for our birthday -- we went away to the Lake District for a long weekend. Kurt called up Toni and told her that he wanted to take me for a "late birthday present" and she let me go without telling me until after Kurt told me on Thursday night that we were going up to the cottage his coworker's family owned.

From the time I knew I really loved Kurt, I started thinking about having him inside me, fucking me and loving me. I also thought about fucking him and loving him. A lot. I wanted to look into his eyes when he came inside me, have him look into my soul as I came inside him. I brought up the subject at the Lake District, in a little restaurant we found right near the cottage. He stalled. I pushed.

When we got back to the cottage, we got into the big bed in the main bedroom, and started making love, the way we like, slow, gradual buildup to nuclear explosion. At one stage, I guess about halfway there, before either of us had moved around to take the other in his mouth, I grabbed the tube of KY that I had bought at Boots and brought up, then hidden under the pillow.

"What do you have in mind?" Kurt said when he saw the tube. He was wary.

"If you can't do it inside me, you can at least do it in between my legs," I said. "I want to make love to you and have you come at the same time."

"We do that pretty regular," he said smiling down at me.

"No, I mean I want to feel you coming while we're kissing and saying nice to each other," I said.

"No fucking?" he had a worried look on his face.

"Not if you don't want to," I said.

He took the tube from my hand and opened it. It took a second to figure out how to pierce the top with the top of the cap. He smeared it all over Hank, and betweeen my legs, under my crutch, all over my dick, which we christened Harry, or "Hal," after the Royal. Then he slipped Hank between my legs, and of course it went all the way through into the sheet, so we had to turn on our side, and I held him in my left hand behind and under me, so he would feel like he was inside me a little. We began to make love again, our tongues intertwined, and he started fucking in and out between my legs, the top of his dick pushing against my arsehole most of the time, against my bollocks all the time, and the tender under part of Harry. Harry was rubbing against Kurt's stomach, drooling like crazy, and Kurt established a rhythm that was slow, deep and steady, gradually building in us the seeds of our explosions.

We whispered to each other how much we loved each other, what we were doing, how we were growing together, how proud we were of each other, and it just got hotter and hotter.

"I'm close, Champ, I'm gonna blow right inside you any second," Kurt whispered on my lips, looking right into my eyes.

"Do it, Kurt," I said "Give it to me!" I was close, so close . . . I wanted to come with him, but I wasn't close enough.

His eyes got wide, and he rammed in between my legs, and I felt the head of Hank expand, quiver a little and then his dick expand in between my legs, the first spurt of his juices crashing out under my hand, out over the bedclothes. He moaned really deeply in my mouth, and I felt the power of his sex, the expansions going on, the grasp of his arms as he tried to get farther "inside" me with each spasm, and I loved him so much I wanted it to be inside me, not on the sheets, and I thought of his sperm being inside me that way, and I exploded on his stomach, my come pouring out like a volcano, every muscle in my body quivering.

It took ages for us to come down from that. It was number 221. I don't know why I remember the number, I just do. (We hit 225 on Monday morning, before we left.)

"Wow!" he said in my ear. I had his dick still in my hand, the head bent slightly up, right up against my arsehole, which I tried to open to him, sneak the head inside me a little, get a little of his cum inside me. I like to think that was the first time his sperm got into me from there, because I felt the head of his dick stretch me a little, and I milked more of his cum down the long tube under his dick.

"I love you," I said. "I want you to do that inside me pretty soon."

He didn't answer right away, just covered me, kissed me, held me, loved me. His dick swelled just a little, speaking for him.

He wanted me that way, too. It was only a matter of time. I lay like the cat, purring in contentment, waiting for the saucer of cream.

I dozed in the car on the way down to London, and dreamed lazily of Kurt and me having a house in the country somewhere, with a big dog and a cat, and chickens for eggs and Sunday Lunch. I woke just as we went past Ealing Common, before we got to Ricmond. I wish we had had the time to walk through Kew Gardens before we got the bad news.