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I couldn't let him see that it had collapsed. I couldn't. I was fourteen. Fourteen year olds don't cry in front of twelve year olds. They don't. Not even if their guts have been turned to water, and they are in the arms on their boyfriend and have been surprised in bed by the twelve year old. It echoed through my head. 'Gross! Gross! Gross! Gross!' I was breathing too fast. 'Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!'
And we hadn't even been doing anything.
Dimly I heard Nigel's voice. "I thought it might be, too, Andy. But it isn't like that." He was calm. Almost matter of fact. "It seems weird, I agree. But it isn't dirty, or gross."
"It must be?" Andy has sat down on the other bed. And the bits of my brain that were still functioning were starting to register curiosity in his voice instead of shock and horror. "I mean my mum always makes me wash my hands when I go. And she's always talking about germs and stuff. So it must be dirty."
"No argument about the need for hygiene," Nigel answered him. "She's right about all that stuff."
"Well it is dirty then." The confidence and assurance of the knowledge of twelve years.
"Chris," Nigel was talking to me, "is anything we've done together dirty or disgusting?"
I was still wrestling with being near tears, fighting the panic which was still there. "No. No, it isn't." I gasped the answer out quickly between breaths.
"I touched mine, once. On purpose I mean. It smelt. I couldn't get my finger to stop smelling for ages. I washed it lots of times. So I don't see how you can say that." Andy was looking as though he wanted to be convinced. "And there's AIDS and stuff."
"Andy, we can deal with AIDS very easily. Neither Chris nor I has ever been with anyone else. So we can't get AIDS. Not unless we're stupid and sleep with someone else who's got it, or HIV."
"I knew that," he said.
"The dirt thing, the smell, that's easy, too."
"It can't be." The boy was sitting on the unused bed, hugging his knees to his chest.
"It really is," Nigel said. "It's a matter of washing. Not your hands, but washing back there after you go. Properly. With loads of soap and water, and a flannel and drying well."
"Yeah, but that's outside! There's loads of it inside. It's got to be dirty inside."
"Sometimes, yes. But it isn't a problem. And there's something else inside that makes it all worthwhile."
I was shocked. Yeah, shocked. Nigel was talking in a wholly matter of fact way to a twelve year old boy about the most secret things. "Are you sure Andy needs to know this?" I was sitting up, now. No longer panicking, well, not quite.
"I think he does, Chris, yes. If he's going to understand about us, that is." And the to Andy, "I can trust you, can't I, Andy?"
"Depends," he said. "I'm not gonna do it with you, if that's what you mean." He looked defiant, and a little scared.
"I don't want you to. Not with me ever. I have Chris. And please don't with anyone else unless you choose to. I mean really choose to."
"Well, OK, I guess you can trust me."
"Can I trust you to keep finding us in bed together a secret, too?"
"I'm not going to tell anyone that you do it with each other, if that's what you mean."
"That'll do me," Nigel told him. "Well, Andy do you wank yet?"
"I dunno. I've heard the word, but I don't know what it means."
"Well, does your cock get stiff and feel really good when you rub it?"
He blushed. A huge blush. "Yes."
"When it feels the best, and everything goes all tense and starts pounding, do you like that?"
"It's awesome." He was talking quietly, eyes a bit downcast.
"If it could be even better, would you like that?"
"How?" The blush was till there, but he was treating Nigel like an expert. And asking his new found expert for information.
"Well, about two inches inside, at the front, there's the place where all that huge feeling comes from."
"Nah, it's at the tip of my cock"
"Some of it is, yeah," Nigel said. "But not all. Some comes from a thing inside called the prostate."
"And if you massage the prostate at the same time, that feeling gets even more awesome."
"With a finger?"
"If you can reach. Or one of those tubes that expensive cigars come in, or something else smooth and slim."
"I tried to stick my finger in once," he said. That's when it got smelly. It wouldn't go in. It felt odd, so I didn't try again. It sort of stung a bit."
"You need something to make it slippery," Nigel said. "If you were a bit older you'd make it yourself. At the moment you need some ointment or something from the bathroom cabinet."
"What do you mean 'make it yourself'?"
"This is getting a bit deep, Andy. There's a sort of clear slippery drop or two that comes out of your cock when it gets all excited. That stuff works pretty well. But you have to start puberty before that all starts to work."
If I hadn't been prepared for all of that, I certainly wasn't prepared for the next bit. "If I go and find something slippery, will you show me how to do it?" I suppose I hadn't even realised that all of this would get Andy excited.
"I think you need a friend of your own to do that with, Andy. Chris and I are a couple, and we don't do things with other people."
"Yeah. I knew you'd say that." Andy looked OK about it, though. "I kind of want to do it, though. To find out, I mean. I trust you about it not being dirty and stuff."
"It's not that I don't like you, you know," Nigel was smiling at him. "I mean if I weren't in love with Chris, then I might have said yes."
"Yeah." Andy's eyes were sort of dreamy.
"You're really cool, Andy," he told him. "I mean really cool. But there's something important, too."
"I knew at your age that I was in love with Chris. Some people wouldn't believe that. But I knew."
"What are you getting at?"
"What I mean is, just because it might feel good, that isn't enough reason to go and do it with someone. Damn I sound like my father. What I'm trying to tell you is that it's worth waiting for someone you really want to be with before you do things with them. Before you have sex. Even for fun."
"Mike and I rub each other!" He looked ashamed and pleased at the same time.
"That's OK I reckon. I mean lots of kids do that."
"I hadn't before I met you," I told him.
"Shh, Chris, just hang on a bit." And to Andy, "and some don't. That's OK. That stuff doesn't mean much. I was thinking about more than larking about, you know with needing someone and caring for them and stuff."
"Does it make me gay, Nigel? Doing stuff with Mike?"
"No. Not at all. Well, not to me. It's different. Unless you fall in love with him as well as wank with him. Unless you don't fancy girls. You can do things with a boy that don't mean anything, and still not be gay, you know." Nigel paused. Looked at me. I was out of my depth. I'd never ever thought about this stuff. I shrugged at him. "Andy, do you think you might be gay? Is that what the problem is?"
"Dunno." Andy was still sitting hugging his knees, Only he was rocking gently back and forth. "No. Yes. Maybe. I, er, I think about Mike when I'm rubbing, wanking in bed at night. About his hands touching me. And I like the feeling when he touches me, and I reckon he likes it when I touch him."
Nigel got up and went over to him. There was just something about Nigel. Confident, caring, sweet, strong. He sat down beside him. "There's plenty of time, Andy. It's still very early. Just tell me all about it." And he put his arm round Andy's shoulders, and hugged him. Brotherly.
I looked at my watch. Half past five. No wonder I was tired. Andy told him a whole load. About how he was scared in case he was gay. About how he felt that he was the only kid who ever felt like that. About how he was scared of the showers and getting all stiff and being teased for being a queer. About how he wanted to be normal and ordinary. It all fell out. At some point in the middle of all this Nigel said "Tell me about your parents?" And Andy told him. Nothing special. A father who worked all the hours he could to make ends meet. A mother who had a job, too. About his kid sister, and about his older brother and sister, who were much older and had left home. About how his parents had both said that he could talk to them about anything at all. And how he was scared to do it, and wanted to run away instead. Or to die. And about how he'd felt he was disgusting. How awful he'd felt until he'd found us in bed together. And how relieved he felt to be, well, not normal, but no longer alone. But how he'd been shocked, too, because he'd suddenly realised he wasn't alone
Nigel seemed to know a lot about boys who thought they were gay. I suppose it was simple. He'd found out as much as he could for himself, about hoe he felt. He hadn't had anyone to talk to, but had half known for sure that his parents would be all right to talk to when he needed them. He let Andy know that what he felt about himself wasn't necessarily gay at all, but that he might be, might not be, or might change. He said that a lot of boys fell for other boys, and that it didn't always mean that they were gay. That Andy's feelings were pretty normal things really, and that he'd help him cope if Andy liked. And that I would too. I realised that he was right. I would. I told Andy so, and got a smile.
Around seven o'clock Andy seemed to be feeling much better. "Look," Nigel said. "Go back to bed and get some more sleep. We can't sort any more out now." He was rewarded with a huge hug.
"Will you be my big brother, Nigel?"
"If you like. Now go and get some rest, OK?"
"Thanks. Both of you." And he was closing the far door.
"Wow! Poor kid. Poor you, too." Nigel looked dead tired.
"He needed me," he said. "Well, not me, exactly. He needed someone."
"Is that how you felt?
"Pretty much," he nodded slowly. "Yeah, pretty much. Except I don't think he's in love, and I think it's just something he is passing through. But only he knows for sure."
Well you gave him pretty explicit instructions at the beginning."
"Everyone should know about the prostate. Doesn't matter what sex they are. Stands to reason, doesn't it?"
"If it feels that good, it needs to be known about!"
"Well, yes, but if I'd found that before I'd found girls I'd never have even thought about girls!"
"Yeah, well, you're you. And you're mine! I'm a bit worried about him, though. Still, I mean."
"Not half as worried as I was when he woke me up!"
"Yeah. I could feel you shaking. I, er, I suppose you don't feel... "
"You're a very special person, Nigel Cropper. Very special." And I went over to the other bed, where he was still sitting, pulled him to his feet and kissed him, full on the lips. No tongues. Well just a little. "I'm very lucky to have you. I love you."
"What brought that on?"
"Andy. What you did for him." I looked at him. "You're really good with people, you know. And I love you. More if possible."
"I love you, too. And," he kissed me again, "I want you."
"Even if the Queen walks in Christopher Jenkins, Even if the Queen, Prince Philip and all the corgis come in, I am going to have you. Here and now." And he kissed me again, and worked down my body. With his hands. And found what he wanted. "One at a time, or both together?"
"Together. Oh together! Yes. Together."
We didn't dare use the beds. They each had a built in 'boing!' from the springs under the mattresses. We didn't undress. But we lay down, top to toe, there between the beds, on the rug. This wasn't romantic. It was urgent. Vital. No ceremony. I lowered the waistband of his pyjamas and grabbed his cock with my free hand and my mouth. I had to taste him. There and then. Immediately. I peeled his foreskin back. I just loved watching the pink head reveal itself through the opening which always seemed too small, too tight, then stretched miraculously to let it through. And I licked the head l over with my tongue. Licked round the ridge, licked the inside of the skin, tasted the first drops of precum that he was leaking, and found how hard and yet how yielding he was. Always amazing. Bar hard shaft, like an iron bar, but clothed in velvety skin, and the head itself, rock hard, red enough to seem angry, yet so soft as my tongue touched it. I felt his tongue licking round my balls, felt his hand pumping my shaft, his fingers rubbing the head itself. Satin sandpaper. And I plunged his cock into my mouth and sucked and licked and pumped for all I was worth. This wasn't; the time for subtlety. This was a simple, hard, pumping, thundering shag. I felt him stiffen first. Felt him struggle to keep his rhythm going, felt his buttocks clench, felt his hand jolt to a halt as he gripped my shaft so tight I thought he'd burst me, and then he thrust so hard into my mouth I had to pull back to taste him as he pulsed into my mouth, and I heard him moan round my cock as he came. It was enough to set me off. I'd been so close before he came that I was ready. And he gave me a quick almost painful squeeze of my balls for good measure as he set me bucking and rearing into his mouth.
We lay there. Spent. Each softening. Still suckling gently, and panting in whatever airspace we could find. Until I imagined that Andy was watching. "We have to get into bed. Beds," I mumbled. I mean I knew that Andy wasn't watching. But it felt as though he might be. Well, as if anyone might be.
We even remembered to get into the right beds. And the early morning plus that wonderful afterglow got to me. I lay down flat on my back, legs and arms outstretched, head square on the pillow, and luxuriated in it. The urgency. The smell of musk at the base of his cock. The tastes, yes all of them, as he came into my mouth. The feel of his body against mine, slippery with sweat inside his pyjamas. The feel of his bum as I held it in my spare hand, the feel of his cock in my free hand. And that magic tensing as his orgasm took hold, the wild thrusts of his hips as I rode his bucking cock, and the feel of having his cock in my mouth, and how it softened so suddenly when he was spent. And sometimes didn't.
I drifted to sleep just glorying in him. Loving his body as well as his friendship. Knowing how marvellous he was. Remembering how sweet and sensible he'd been to Andy. And Nigel loved me. Me!
I can't have moved. It was only a couple of hours, to be sure, but I was dead to the world. If the smile was on my face when I dropped off, it was there when John came in to wake us both up.
"Come on, wake up, breakfast. Hey Chris, love the smile, you must be having a good dream! Who is she?"
I struggled to the surface, hearing him waking Nigel up. If only he knew who she was. Or rather how wonderful that he didn't. "Morning. It isn't still raining is it?"
In answer he pulled back the curtains and the sun streamed in. Glorious day. Last day of the school holidays. "Mum's got breakfast downstairs. Nothing special, but it's not cool to be late!"
"Are the others up?" My mind had gone back to the shock in the small hours.
"Just going to wake them. Mike's a pretty heavy sleeper. Dunno about Andy." John was all bright and awake. And he went through the door at the far end to get them up. Through the door came sleepy noises, followed by shrieks. He must have pulled the duvets off!
Nigel was already struggling onto his clothes. I was busy hunting for a sock. "I'm still tired," he said.
"You're pretty amazing, you know?"
"Well, not really."
"But how did you know? When he was all aggressive?"
"You didn't? But you told him about us!"
"How could I have avoided it? I was snuggled up with you!"
"True. But, then you got him to talk to you."
"Something about him made me think of me. Shh, Mike's coming through." The door had opened and Mike had appeared. Andy a little way behind him, both going to get washed.
Breakfast was pretty uneventful. I half expected Andy to avoid my eyes. But he didn't. And I half expected him to blurt out the early morning visit. He didn't do that either. He was just like he'd been the night before. Mike's mate. A kid. A relief.
The whole of that day was pretty uneventful. Boring, too. The last day of the holidays always was boring. Mum picked me up from John's house in the Volvo, gave Nigel a lift home on the way. Not that it was on the way, but she did it as a favour to Claire, gave us scant time to say goodbye to each other, and drove me home. That felt tough. Being sort of dragged away from Nigel. I knew I wouldn't see him until school the next day. It sort of mattered, but it was only for a day, and we'd have to get used to being at school and stuff.
I thought about that a lot while Mum was badgering me to find my games clothes, to find my school books, to look for my tie, and all the other stuff. It was always the same, that day before term started. Not just the clothes, but the pens, pencils, rulers, ink cartridges. The whole lot. All the time I was wondering how we'd cope with being in school and being lovers. Wondering whether the story would get out. Knowing that it would, somehow.
I listed in my mind who knew. That was easy. Carol knew, and Andy knew. I was pretty sure of Carol, but I still hadn't been able to talk to her. I had truly no idea about Andy Giles. I reckoned he must go to our school, but I'd never noticed him. But then last term I'd been wrapped up in what I was doing. I hadn't paid heed to many people, except Carol.
Then there were the people who just might know. John Simpson, of course, his brother Mike if Andy had been less that discreet, Celia who was out shopping with Carol. That had to be the list complete. The rest of the people of the French trip were probably fine. If they'd suspected anything it would have been gossiped about at the time. So that left only the unexpected.
I went over it all again. I'd left out those two from the cinema. But they were only bullying. Probably. But Nigel was going to cope with them. Nigel was strong. He'd look after us. He would. Look after us. Not just himself. No he'd look after us.
So, that was just two people who knew for sure, three who might know, and two who just frightened me.
"You're quiet," Mum said at one point.
"I'm a bit frightened of school, Mum." And I told her some of the reasons why. Not about Andy and his early morning visit. But about the rest. Well about my fear of being found out. About being scared of having my friends turn on me.
Mum was great. I'd expected a lecture about consequences of my actions, and about needing to understand how people who were different were frightening. And about being careful to be completely normal when near Nigel in school. I'm pretty certain that she wanted to do all that. Instead I found myself in her arms, head on her shoulder her hands stroking my back.
She didn't say much. Didn't need to. I was her little boy again. Being held close. Hugged. "I'm here for you, darling. I'll always be here for you. You've grown up so fast." And we just hugged. For ages.
"I'm OK, Mum, I'll be fine." I wasn't convinced, but saying it made it seem real. I didn't want to say that we would be all right. Somehow it was about me. Not about Nigel, and not about us. It was about me, Chris Jenkins, and my choices and my life. "Thanks. I needed the hug."
I was still on edge, though. Horribly on edge. And trying not to let it show. There wasn't anything I could do about it in any case. Neither Nigel nor I were prepared for it. We were hoping that everything was going to be as normal. There was nor real reason why it shouldn't be. School was a pretty normal place. While my brain was buzzing I tried to think if there was anyone who was openly gay. I don't know why I did. Being gay wasn't what I was. I didn't suppose it would make any difference if anyone found out that we were lovers. They'd still say we were gay.
"What?" She was preoccupied with making sure I had all my stuff, clean uniform, all that.
"Mum, I really do love him."
"I know. I can see you do, feel you do." She'd stopped what she was doing, and was looking at me. No real expression. Sort of open. "What is it, Chris?"
"I'm scared, Mum." She came towards me sort of softly. "Not of school, really. Well a bit."
"Will it be enough, Mum? Loving him?" I felt her arms take hold of me as I was looking at the floor. "When I'm with him I feel wonderful."
"More than with Carol?"
"Different. All filled with stars. Exciting. Even when we are just talking, or sitting, or walking around. I, I've never felt this feeling before."
I found I was being held softly with my head against her shoulder. "You're lucky to feel it, Chris. Some people never feel it. Not ever. It'll be enough if you're lucky, both of you."
We stayed like that for ages. It felt safe. Cosy. Warm. I still knew she didn't approve, exactly. But it felt as though we were healing. "Is that how you feel with Dad?" Sometime while we were standing there the words slipped out.
"In the beginning," she said dreamily. "In the beginning." And she told me the story I'd heard before, often before of how they met.
"Doesn't it still feel like it? You said 'in the beginning'?"
"When I see him coming in through the front door after work, yes. When I wake up next to him, yes." She sighed. "Yes, Chris. Yes it does. I'm lucky. Very lucky." She stroked my hair. "I know this is going to sound strange, especially because you know I'm not truly happy about you're being in love with a boy. But, Chris, if that's how he makes you feel, then hold on to that feeling."
"Thanks, Mum." There didn't seem to be any other words needed
The evening was a family one. Ok, I missed Nigel. But Mum and Dad always tried to make the last evening before school started a bit special. It was usually a nice meal, and just a good evening. It wasn't as though I went away to boarding school, but they always seemed to feel it needed to be something a bit special.
It was good, too. Dad got home from work in good time for supper for a change. It was one of Mum's famous rabbit pies. All meaty, with prunes and onions and loads of gravy and a really lovely pie crust. Suet pastry. Desperately fattening and yummy. Fresh vegetables, cooked so they were still crispy, but were hot. You couldn't fit in a dessert after rabbit pie. So I did. Ice cream. Chocolate. Belgian chocolate ice cream.
The niggles about school were still there, but it was a lovely evening even so. After supper we sat in the garden, enjoying the September warmth, just being the three of us. No real way to describe it, that evening, except as a sort of haven. If you can describe an evening as a haven.
I was ready for bed. I spent a little time in the garden alone just before I went up. Darkness had fallen properly an hour or so before, and the stars were out. I stood for a moment in the quiet, looking up at the dark sky. "Goodnight, Nigel. I love you. I'll see you tomorrow. It'll be all right. I know it will. I hope it will." I was talking out loud, talking to Nigel three miles away. Yet talking quietly so that only I would hear. I knew he'd hear me somehow. It just seemed so right after the evening.
I realised something, too, out there in the garden. It was hard to explain it, even to myself, but I realised as a soft flash that love was all that was important. Real love. 'Silly, sentimental fool,' I said to myself in my head. But it felt good to know.
I hadn't expected to sleep easily that night. I was thinking of Nigel as I brushed my teeth. I was seeing his face kissing me goodnight as I lay down. It all felt so comfy that I was hugely surprised that the next thing I knew after putting my head on the pillow was Mum coming in to wake me up!
"School uniform," Mum said.
"Sleep well?" She was drawing the curtains back. Sun streamed in.
"Yeah. Didn't think I would."
"I've got tea brewing. I've left you sleeping as long as possible. Dad's going to run you to school with the games bag and stuff. Don't hang about getting dressed."
"OK." I didn't hang about. And oddly my nerves had gone. It was going to be good getting back and seeing old mates. A new year, new places to hang out, new kids looking bewildered, new teachers, new classroom.
Breakfast didn't take long. It never did on school days. Nor did the mile and a bit to school. Mind you it was chaos outside the front gates. Cars pulling up, double parking. Kids getting out. New kids getting kissed goodbye. I looked around for my lot. Couldn't see any at first. Not until I got to the changing room where the lockers were and had finished putting my games kit away. Well after that, as I came out of the door. I saw Celia coming out of the girls' changing rooms. The doors were on opposite sides of the corridor.
"Hi." What did I have to say to Celia?
"Do we have French first?"
That's what I had to say to Celia. "No idea. Let's go and look at the noticeboard."
Our school had long, green painted, echoey corridors, with hard floors like polished concrete. Celia had those metal heel things in her shoes and sounded very loud as she click-clacked beside me. We passed doors to classrooms, doors with round lightly frosted windows in them. Other kids were going in their various directions. Some lugging games bags were heading the way we'd just come. Others were standing in clumps, talking. We passed a group of juniors by their year noticeboard, and I got a smile from one. Andy. Andy Giles. I smiled back., a little cold inside, wondering what he would do, whether he would do anything. I knew inside that he wouldn't say anything on purpose. It was just the accidents I was scared of.
Celia was talking to me. "Have you and Carol broken up?"
"Well, I still like her a whole lot, but we've stopped going out together, if that's what you mean."
"Yeah. She likes you, too. Was that Nigel Cropper you were hanging out with in town?"
"Yes." Brain overdrive again. She couldn't know. She just couldn't.
"He is?" Typical male behaviour. No boy can ever acknowledge that another boy is good looking.
"Dreamy. Would you introduce me to him?"
I hardly knew Celia Parsons. I only knew her as one of Carol's more distant friends. A sort of spare when Natalie wasn't available. Now she was asking for an introduction to my lover. Well that was safe enough. But she was beautiful, too. I could see why Carol didn't hang out with her too often. You don't see two lovely girls together! Deep copper hair. Not ginger, that wouldn't have suited her face. Deep copper, with a pale complexion, and pastel green eyes. Slim, but a little too fashionable to be sophisticated. Just a touch overstated. But without having had Carol as a girlfriend, now Nigel as my lover, I realised that I would have been interested. Well I was interested. A bit. "I can do that, if you like." Then more daring, "Is he that gorgeous, then?"
"I wouldn't expect a boy to notice," she laughed at me. "He's that gorgeous. Yes."
"What if he's already fixed up, got a girlfriend?"
"I've never seen him with a girl. Never. And no-one's ever heard him talk about a girlfriend."
"He may have one out of school?" Oh. I was starting to get out of my depth. I was going to regret this. I knew I was.
"He only hangs around with John Simpson as far as I know. You, too, now I suppose."
"OK, I'll introduce you." Nothing to be gained by saying no. Everything to be lost. It wasn't; a request to refuse. What would Nigel make of it? But then I was sure he'd had to beat girls off with a stick all the time anyway. If he even noticed them. "Probably best at the lunch break? Or tomorrow?"
We'd reached our year noticeboards. She's been right, we saw as we pushed through to the front. Nigel was nowhere to be seen. I wondered if he was as nervous as I'd been. French in room 331 for the first period. There was also a pile of photocopied timetables to be grabbed. That was a good thing about our school. They bothered to make sure that we would have timetables. We didn't have to write them down. Carol was there, but she must have chosen not to notice me. "See you in French," Celia said. "Don't forget about Nigel, will you?" And she went to join Carol.
How could I forget about Nigel? But I knew that wasn't what she meant. There was always a full school assembly on the first day of a new term. The first assembly of a new year was always a longer one. It used up the first two lessons of the day, and there were fifteen minutes or so to kill before that monumentally tedious event started, so I went looking for Nigel. Back towards the changing rooms seemed the best bet. But the throng was coming back towards the main entrance and the gym which doubled as the assembly hall and theatre. All I did was bump into Andy.
"Oh, er, Hi Chris." Which was OK, except year groups didn't usually mix. Still, that wasn't going to matter.
"Hello, Andy." He was a nice kid. I don't mean that I fancied him or anything, there was just something about him. A happy smile, an open face, dark hair, nice tan from wherever he'd been for a holiday, brown eyes, long eyelashes. I was surprised I noticed. If he'd been a girl I'd have noticed at once. But now I was noticing boys as well as girls. "You haven't seen Nigel, have you?"
"Not yet," he said as I was carried back his way, giving up the idea of heading for the changing rooms. "I wanted to bump into him, too." And then we were separated. And I gave up the idea of seeing Nigel until assembly was over, and let myself be herded into the gym.
About half the seats were taken, some rows fuller than others. Each year had its own group of rows. The more senior you were the nearer the back you sat. A new row this year. I found some of my group and joined them. No-one I was particularly pally with. Actually there was no-one I was particularly pally with. I'd been absorbed in having a girlfriend for the past two years, and I'd sort of excluded everyone else. Which was, I supposed, going to make the new year interesting. Because I couldn't be exclusively with Nigel without causing at least some comment. So I had Harry Carter on my left and Georgina Mason on my right.
We'd had the opening hymn. Mrs Brannigan played the piano with the claw hammer technique. 'Lord receive us with thy blessing, once again assembled here.' All thumped out in a rousing way, and were into the welcome address by the Head. There was usually some surreptitious whispering during assembly.
"Have you and Carol Anderson broken up?" Harry whispered to me. "You usually sit with here, and there's a rumour that you fell out in France."
Ye gods, did everyone know? "Sort of," I whispered back. "We aren't going out anymore. But we're still friends. I think."
"Maybe I'll be in with a chance," he smiled to me.
Fair enough, I reckoned. Except that she still loved me enough to hate me. And I couldn't think of her with any emotion other that love and admiration. And a couple of huge helpings of gratitude. I was jealous, I realised. Though I had no right to be. I had no claim on Carol. None.
All this didn't make not having seen Nigel any easier. But the assembly droned on. Another hymn, no idea which one. I'd only remembered the other one because I hated it. That and its companion for the end of term, 'Lord dismiss us with thy blessing....'. They were so patronising, I thought. We were through it. At last. Only French to go before first break. So I headed for room 331. Nigel was in a different set for French as he was for most things, so there was no chance of seeing him. Though my heart lifted and missed a beat when I saw the back of his head in the corridor a huge way in front of me. No-one else had hair that colour. Spun silver and gold. Amazing. And I turned into 331 and chose a seat.
Which became an immediate problem, because Mrs Marchmont immediately rearranged us into the order we'd been in the exams the previous term. Bottom places at the front, to 'concentrate', top places at the back. And as we rearranged, I found I was next to Carol. Right at the back. She'd come top. Just. Probably because we'd revised and stuff together.
"I need to talk to you," I had time to say before Mrs Marchmont called the lesson to order.
"I can't," she said as Mrs Marchmont told us to get out our Tricolore books, and to 'ouvrez à page' something or other. The whole lesson was in French.
It was starting to be a really awkward day. Celia wanted to be introduced to Nigel. Andy wanted to bump into Nigel. Dammit I needed to bump into Nigel. Only I needed to hold him in my arms, and be held by him. Quietly. And I was jealous of Harry Carter wanting to go out with Carol, though I had no reason to be. And Carol couldn't, or wouldn't speak to me. All before eleven fifteen.
I couldn't concentrate on the lesson. It didn't matter too much, because we were going over old stuff, but it was almost embarrassing when I realised I had just escaped being asked a question, so I forced myself at least to listen. I also sneaked time when we were meant to be writing notes on the lesson to write a short note to Carol. Nothing much. Just some stupid words to say thank you, and that I wanted to tell her so.
And I passed it to her.
I don't know if I expected her to read it, or to tear it up, or anything really. We'd always passed each other notes before.
She put it in her pocket without a glance.
And got on with her work. Not looking at me.
If this was going to be school with Carol, I wasn't sure I could stand it. It was awful. I hadn't meant to hurt her. I mean I knew I couldn't avoid hurting her, but I hadn't set out to do it. I hadn't meant to fall in love with Nigel. Hadn't wanted to, even. I won't deny that I'd been more than ready to do what he suggested in our room in the south of France. I'd even wondered a little about what it would be like with a boy. Just a little. And he'd been so, well, so vital, so alive, so gentle, hypnotic. I don't mean that he'd taken advantage of me exactly. I would never have fallen for him if it hadn't been there, waiting to be let out. Whatever it was, I loved him. And I wanted to live my life with him. And be approved of and safe at the same time.
And all this tension was scary. Except it wasn't really tension. It was just me. No-one else was tense. I reckoned even Nigel was less tense than I was. He'd at least been used to not being able to talk to me and tell me what he felt.
As the bell went for break, I thought about trying to talk to Carol. But she'd made the quickest exit I'd ever seen, all her books gathered up and gone. Ours was one of those schools where you take your books form room to room, kind of following the lessons round the school instead of the lessons coming to you. I knew she'd be heading for her book locker, but I decided not to follow. Instead I headed for Nigel's locker.
To find him already deep in conversation with someone else. Someone unexpected. Except I should have expected it. With Andy Giles.
"Hi Nigel. 'Lo Andy"
And Andy jumped as if I'd startled him. "Oh!"
"It's all right, Andy," Nigel told him. "Just wait a moment." And then to me, "Chris, Andy wants to talk about something. It's important to him. I need to help him, OK?"
"Can we wait until lunchtime?"
"Yes, I suppose." Only I couldn't. Wait. "Only... "
"Chris, I wouldn't ask if it wasn't important, OK?"
"Yeah." I sighed. "Yeah. I know."
I was wondering, though. I had withdrawal symptoms even after only a day away from him. He gave me a wonderful smile, though. Which was almost enough to be going on with. Almost.
I had no idea what to do in break. I mean no idea at all. Last term and all the terms before I'd hung out with Carol, and sort of isolated myself. In my head I knew I couldn't hang out exclusively with Nigel. Possibly not even at all with him at school. His crowd and mine were, well, different. If I had a crowd. Nigel did. Have a crowd. All the kids who were games oriented were his crowd. And I couldn't kick a ball straight to save my life. Hated Rugby, and we were one of the very few schools in the state sector to play Rugby.
I was more at home with people who were good at lessons. Not the dorks, the ones with dandruff and milk bottle bottom glasses, but the normal ones. But for Nigel I'd learn to like games. If I could. And I'd certainly be there watching the matches when he played.
The break sort of passed. No idea where it went. And the next two lessons before lunch were sort of blurred. Maths and Physics. I was good at those, too. Nothing much to concentrate on. I was waiting for lunch. I was determined to talk to Nigel at lunch.
When the bell went I was pretty well first out of the room. I dumped my books in my locker, and walked as fast as was decent to the cafeteria. We had a queue for food and grab any table system. A quick scan of the room showed no Nigel. So I waited until I saw his hair heading my way. I could recognise him at a mile distant, I thought. I'd just caught his eye and moved towards him when bloody Celia arrived. And Celia Parsons was the last person I needed just then. Except it was inevitable that I wasn't going to get even five minutes alone with Nigel.
"Will you? You said you would?"
"Introduce me to Nigel?"
I did so not want to introduce her to him. I mean I knew I had no fears about losing him to her. But I wanted to talk to him. Just to talk to him. And to start to work out how we could meet properly midweek. Because I had a half formed plan about homework and so on. "He may not want to talk to you?" I was clutching at straws.
"Chris, all I want is to be able to say hello. You don't have to be protective you know."
Oh shit. I was being protective. "I'm not. I was just saying." It felt as though I was digging the hole ever deeper. Then Nigel arrived. "Do you know Celia?"
I watched his face. Which was suddenly horribly insecure. And I realised what he was thinking. Or thought I did. "Hi," he said, absently.
And she then made quite sure that he realised that she wasn't my new girlfriend by standing between us and trying to grab his entire attention. I decided withdrawal would be best. It didn't really matter. And we'd be out of school at three thirty anyway "I'll catch you later, Nigel?"
"Yeah, er, sure." And he was enveloped in Celia's conversation. One type of look of horror left his face to be replaced by another.
"Sorry," I mouthed silently to him, over her shoulder. And I watched he move in on him. I waited and then joined the queue. No-one I really knew round me. Then John Simpson tapped me on the shoulder.
"I see Nigel's got a girlfriend?"
"Possibly," I said to him, not quite knowing how to play it.
"I've been thinking it was about time he got a girl. He's always just concentrated on sport and stuff." He laughed in a macho sort of way. "We've all taken you as our example, Chris. You and Carol."
"Seems such a shame that you've split up. What happened?"
Why did everyone want a post mortem? "Nothing much. I suppose it had run its course or something."
"Have you ever, well, you know?"
"Jeez, John, I can't tell you that."
"Then you have."
"Look, have or haven't, I like Carol a lot, right. So I'm not going to say either way. If we have, then it's private, and if we haven't it's our choice about telling anyone too."
"Keep your hair on," he said, as we got our plates of something approximating to food. "I won't ask. I just want to know what it's like, that's all. Sex and everything."
"Afraid asking me's no good to you. Sorry, John."
"We're still mates?"
"Yeah. Yeah, we're still mates." Wow. We hadn't been mates. Not ever. Now I had a mate. And I'd only really met him at his place the other day. And night. I really enjoyed staying at your place by the way.
"You want to hang out with us?"
"Sure." So I had my lunch with him and a couple of others. I found out a lot about what people thought of me, too. I hadn't realised I was a sort of hero for having a long terms girlfriend. Nor how they had all been dead jealous of me. I'd started the day thinking that I needed new friends. Now I found I'd pretty well had them all along. Except they'd been too shy to try to be my friend, because I'd always been locked together with Carol. And they were envious, I found out. Now I was one of the crowd again. Except I was a bit more, in their eyes. Amazing.
Anyway, we passed what became a really good lunch break together. I still wished I could have spent some time with Nigel. But he was being monopolised by Celia. It was good camouflage at least. Well I hoped that was how he'd see it. "You ought to give Nigel some hints on chatting up girls," John said at one point, looking across at them.
"Don't think he needs them, John," one of the others said. "She's all over him like a rash!" And everyone laughed. Yes, me, too.
The afternoon went by in the same daze that the morning did. We were each expected straight home, so there was no chance to meet at all. Which wasn't what I wanted. Or needed. I ached to feel him in my arms. I wanted him to make love to me. Long and slowly, and fiercely and urgently at the same time. I wanted at least to kiss him. To stroke his hair. To feel his muscles rippling beneath his skin as I stroked him. To feel the silkiness of his skin, the satin of his cheeks. I wanted to bury my nose in his hair and smell the dusty scent of him. To feel the texture of his tongue against mine. I swear I walked that mile and a bit home making love to him all the way in my head. Wondering if he could hear what I was thinking so hard at him, if he could feel my ghost fingers stroking him.
I was so desperate by the time I got home that I needed to deal with a very severe problem. My balls were aching again. Actually aching as though someone had kicked them. Aching from the need for his touch. I had to do something about it. Had to.
I said a very brief hello to Mum as I got in through the door, and went upstairs, to 'do my homework.' The I locked my bedroom door, and pretended Nigel was undressing me as I took off all my clothes in front of the mirror. Pretended it was his arms around me instead of my own. Pretended that is was his body, too, that I was seeing in the mirror, his cock, all erect, tight foreskin straining as I took hold of myself and slid the skin back over the head. I'd never really studied my own cock before, just his, but they were very similar, a soft head with iron inside, pink, weeping. Foreskin so sensitive inside. I wondered if he was doing the same as me, in his room, as I leaned, then fell back on to the bed, just starting to slide my foreskin up and down the shaft. I tried and failed to lick the tip with my tongue. I messed by about an inch. Then I rubbed the head with the palm of my left hand and slid the skin up and down with my right. Agony. Ecstasy too. Then a thought.
I took the precum and worked it in my left hand to my crack, and pressed my own finger inside me. I'd never done it before, and I imagined it was Nigel's cock as I did it. One finger, the second one, as far inside as I could. Damn. Needed another, so the ring finger as well. Ahh, there, I'd reached it. Oh, fire. Legs apart and both in the air as I curled up, massaging with my fingers, probing, believing it was Nigel doing it, seeing his face in my mind, feeling his sweat against me, remembering being impaled on his beautiful cock. Pushing my fingers into myself, fighting the tension of the ring muscles, feeling my own heat, satin soft, velvet and hot, fucking myself with my own hand and I grunted and pulled to hard in my cock, feeling the tension mount, feeling my hole grab and grip my fingers, feeling them locked into position by the pressure, as I fired cum onto my chest and belly, pretending all the while it was Nigel fucking me, Nigel's hand on my cock. And weirdly Nigel's cum on my chest. "Oh Nigel" escaped form my lips. "Oh Nigel I love you." And I fought for breath, and then just lay there, panting quietly. Naked.
It was the first time since that first night in France that I'd had a wank. And the first time I'd ever put anything at all inside myself. "Oh Nigel," I moaned again, wishing he could be there.
That post orgasmic glow was good. As I half dozed I was thinking about the day. About school. If that first day of term had been typical of the term to come, I thought we'd probably make it without discovery, without being exposed, without being, what was the phrase, 'outed'. I knew I adored Nigel. If we could work out ways of being together, if we could keep up the front of both being girl oriented, and he'd made a pretty fine start that day, if we could do that, then we would survive school.
Was our love strong enough, I wondered? Would it last? Could it survive the normality of a school term? And the more I thought, the more I felt it probably could. Probably would. We would be safe.
I pulled my clothes back on, not caring about cum stains on my underwear, and got my homework out. Not much, only Physics. When I'd done it, I'd phone Nigel and find out about his day, I said to myself. When I'd done it.
Being loved was wonderful. Loving the person who loved you was better. And if Nigel and I were both boys? We'd survive. We would. As long as we had each other. And very soon I was going to phone him and tell him so. And hear his voice.
It would be enough.
That is the end of the first volume of Chris and Nigel. It takes the boys to the edge of their second real trial, the second test of their love. School. There will be a second volume. I haven't decided whether to leave a time gap yet, or whether to follow straight on. But the first chapters will not appear until January 2000 at the earliest. I've had a blast writing this book. It started out for me. Now it is for you. I'm hoping to get it published as a real book. In the meantime, I dedicate it simply to all those boys who have loved other boys, and who have gloried in that love, whether returned or not.
If you liked this chapter, If you like the story, find more at my website http://www.iomfats.org, and from there also link to the Teenage Gay Boy Love Stories Webring where we have gathered authors who write fact and fiction about teenage male romance. And if you are an author yourself, please don't hesitate to go to the Webring Signup page at http://www.iomfats.org/ringmaster.htm and submit your own website for consideration for membership. Our Webring gets in excess of 2,500 hits a week. We must be doing something right! Click here for the list of TGBL Webring Sites [if your browser does not show this link, simply visit my website's links page].