Another year. Another term. But the same old school. Yawn. Boring.

And after such a summer holidays. Sixteenth birthday a couple of months ago. And a few other memorable happenings. Mainly thanks to Lucy, Jason, Kevin, Sue. And one or two others. Including that boy in the Florida hotel whose name I never did find out. Ah, boys and girls. And what we're made for. I'm not choosy. Girls or boys. Omnivorous, if you like. Easier with girls, of course. The geometry's more straightforward. With boys you have to be more ... inventive.

And school. Well. Boys only, I'm afraid. And softly, softly. There are some boys who will Do Stuff - as we say. But not that many. And the difficulty is finding out which ones. Otherwise you get labelled "gay". Not a label you want to pick up at school. Poor old Wes - he picked the wrong guy to try and Do Stuff with. He got a termful of abuse as a result. People whispering, muttering, shouting "Gay!" at him, until he started whispering, muttering, shouting "Fuck off!" back at them. They got tired of it in the end, and found someone else to pick on. But it wasn't nice while it lasted. I didn't want that happening to me. Mind you, Wes was one of nature's victims. If it hadn't been that, people would have found something else to make his life a misery.

And as I looked round the assembled House at the first roll call, I reckoned there wouldn't be many I would want to Do Stuff with anyway. There were eleven other boys in my year. I reckoned at least seven or so would have thumped me if I'd tried it on. And then there were the half dozen who were completely infancyable anyway. And you're going to say that's thirteen out of eleven. Well, there was some overlap there.

One or two in the year above maybe ... and as I looked round, I saw one of the Removes - he'd grown up in the holidays. Maybe ... well, time would tell. But it looked like being a continent and celibate few weeks from now on. Chastity would have be its own reward.

Well, that's what I thought then, anyway. Until it came to the first lesson in the morning. Chemistry. We were hanging around outside the lab because Ratty hadn't turned up yet. Well, his name wasn't really Ratty, it was Mole. Dr. Mole. But Ratty ... from Wind in the Willows? And it suited him too. Not that he was a bad teacher. Knew his stuff. Marked the work. Answered questions. Bit lax on the old discipline. Anyway. There we were, milling around, all waiting for him. And I saw someone I'd never noticed before.

I must have seen him around the place sometime before - I know that there're about a hundred and twenty in our year group, but by the third year in the school I must have seen them all. But he hadn't been in our set last year. The top set. Of course. He must have been promoted after last summer's exams. Didn't know his name, though, or anything else about him. Not even which House he was in. You can usually work that one out from the tie, but he was wearing one of the special team ties. A Minor Sports tie. But that wasn't much clue. Could have been for anything from badminton to sailing.

He was standing slightly apart from the others, who were standing around, talking the talk for the beginning of the year, boasting as to where they'd been for the summer holidays, and what they'd been doing. I wasn't going to tell them what I'd been doing - most of it they wouldn't have believed, and half of it would have them crying "Perve!" at me.

He wasn't talking to any of the others though. But he was a new boy in the set, after all, so perhaps he didn't know many people. He did look the quiet type. And still I couldn't think why I hadn't noticed him before now. Tall. Fair haired. Blue eyes. Yeah, yeah. I know. All the clichés. But there was a bit more to him than that. The hair was long at the front, and straight, brushed sideways, with a neat parting, and flopping forward over his forehead. Not too long, though. A slightly bashful look. Standing there with eyes lowered. Neatly dressed. One of these people who seem naturally neat whatever they're wearing.

And, as I said, tall. His legs seemed to go on for ever in those black flannel trousers. I could imagine those legs ... long, smooth, hairless. Yum. I had to swallow and look away. Some discomfort down in the boxer region. I didn't want to be seen re-arranging myself. Someone would be bound to notice and pass comment.

Then Ratty turned up eventually and unlocked the door. The rest all surged in, but I hung back. As did - whoever he was. Which meant all the hard cases made straight for the back row, and as I followed him in, there was only one desk free, right at the front. The room had tables rather than desks, really, two to a table. And so I was able to sit down next to him, all nonchalant. Not that sitting at the front was my usual style. I was more of a back row person myself. But why pass up the opportunity?

Then Ratty went through the list, calling out the names, until: "Taylor?"


Taylor. Well, there was one half of his name. I tried squinting at his file. "M. Taylor. School House" was written on the front. M? Mike? Mark? What else? Murgatroyd? Didn't think so somehow. Well, at least I knew now what House he was in. And his hands, resting on the folder. They were as sexy as the rest of him. Long, thin. That's one thing about me that I don't like. Small, short fingers; wide hands. Well, you can't have everything. Though M. Taylor seemed to have.

Next question. Did he Do Stuff? Mind you, Doing Stuff was fairly boring. Well, after what I'd being doing for a large part of the summer holidays. There were these Unwritten Rules. Trousers open and boxers hoicked down six inches. No touching, apart from grabbing the other guy's dick to jerk him off. Unless it was dark, in House at night, when people were in their pyjamas or whatever. Like my very first time. The start of last year. Ben - one of the Lower Sixth - finding me out of bed. And I couldn't work out why he didn't send me back there and then. Or report me. Until ... well, it was an interesting revelation. And another of the Unwritten Rules: you do me, I do you. And he was big. Mighty big, compared with me. At least, big compared with me then. And very hairy. Not that I hadn't grown a bit since then, mind you. And we'd had a few more sessions after that ... until one night when he'd said no, he'd got a girl friend now, thanks very much. Me, I didn't see the connection. The girl friend wasn't there and available, was she? And I was. But there you go.

The other snag with M. Taylor was him being in a different House. Much more difficult to set things up. I couldn't wander over to whichever one it was in the middle of the night in my boxers and tee shirt. Not when we were locked in at ten thirty. And there wouldn't even be the chance to set up something in the bathrooms - I remembered that rather interesting shower I'd had once ...

But perhaps I was being a little premature - here I was sitting next to a guy I'd never even spoken to, and already planning a seduction. And sex at school, too. I don't know how I'd feel about the place in two years' time, when I'd be in the Upper Sixth, but it felt like a prison already. No sex. No smoking (well, I didn't really, anyway). No drink - well, OK, I was underage, but I wouldn't be in two years time. Wearing school uniform. Being locked in at night with sixty other teenage boys. Yes, I know, in other circumstances that could be fun, but ... Not allowed out of the grounds without special permission. At least in prison you could smoke. And have sex, presumably, if you found someone willing. And we paid for the privilege! (At least, our parents did.)

But Ratty was burbling on again. Covalent and ionic bonding. I sighed, and reached for a pen and my pad to make some notes.

And forgot about M. Taylor after the lesson. Well, not quite. I remembered him late that evening as I was lying in bed, doing ... well, you know what. I imagined his face in close up as I brought him -well, myself, actually - slowly, firmly, to climax. One of the things that turned me on was watching boys' faces when they came ... lips parted, eyes closed, the heavy breathing, the gasping .... and I'd had plenty of practice doing that in the summer.

It was odd how all that had first happened. I was walking along in the shopping centre at home - a sort of attempt at a shopping mall, except it didn't really fit in that town. A Kev caught my eye. Now, for those of you who don't move in my social circles, a Kev is a local. A local yokel. Not one of us. They wear white socks and trainers, and speak different like. All the consonants disappeared. "Wha' ya go' there, then?" This one I recognised as an archetypal Kev, as I checked him out. Trainers and white socks. One of those jackets with a hood, lined with imitation fur - what d'you call them - parkas? He was leaning against the window of Dixons, staring at the crowd. But as I looked at him, he held my gaze. Now, with Kevs, that usually means a challenge. "Who are you looking at, then, ponce?" But Kevs only challenged you when there was a group of them. This one was by himself. And he didn't look that hefty. Not the sort to go throwing his weight about.

So I slowed down. Still the eye contact. I stopped and stared into Dixon's window. Well, not really. But it gave me an excuse. Then I looked sideways again. And he was still staring at me. But not a "What are looking at?" look. I nodded. Slightly. He nodded back. So, what next? "Do you want come back to my place?"

Well, not quite. But that's how it ended up. And he was remarkably enthusiastic. Taught me a few things over the next few weeks. Mind you, I taught him some too. And he'd got an ... interesting ... circle of friends. Not that I cared for all of them. But some of them were ... well, as I said, very interesting. And an introduction to them often meant a threesome at his place. Very handy that. Mum single parent, out working all day. And Jason (his name wasn't really Kevin, although one of the boys he introduced me to was) had a key and the place to himself for the day .... which is one of the reasons why I'd had such a good summer.

But enough of that. Jason and his friends were a long way away. M. Taylor wasn't. But our next Chemistry lesson wasn't until Thursday. And we filed into the same seats as last time. Very conservative creatures, boys. Ratty had set us prep already - first lesson of term! I could see M. Taylor slide his out of his folder. That M - I hadn't even looked him up in the school list. That would have told me. His handwriting was a bit big and scrawly. Ah, well, not perfect in everything. And I could see a couple of mistakes. I leant over, and pointed to one of his answers.

"It's Na2SO4, not NaSO4. Sodium's one positive, sulphate two negative."


"And there again, with sodium carbonate. Same mistake."


He took out a pen and scrawled a '2' in the right places, then turned to me and smiled.


Ah, worth it for the smile. But I didn't tell him that.

"Have you done this stuff before?" he asked.

"Some. Last year."

"Oh. I was in the second set then. We didn't cover it at all."

I shrugged. "Easy enough once you get the hang of it."


I glanced up and saw Ratty looking at the two of us. I gave him my sweetest smile and shut up. But I was pleased with myself for having put M. Taylor in my debt. I knew my chances of getting anywhere with him were pretty remote, but I might as well make the most of his company when I had the opportunity.

And after the lesson he hung back, waylaid me as we went out.

"Thanks again for that," he said.

"No worries."

"It's not everyone who'd help out like that."

I grasped his elbow. That was about as close as I was going to get. "Hey, what are friends for?"

That got a grin out of him. And that grin made me want him all the more. Down, boy!

"Got to go now. See you later."


But it wasn't the next Chem lesson when I saw him next, but that evening. I was coming back from Choir practice (choirboy maybe, but not the least bit angelic), and I had diverted to look at one of the notice boards. Then a short cut back to House. I say short cut: it actually led round through a path in the woods. And in the trees I suddenly saw a dull red glow. A smoker! Highly forbidden, smoking. Those teachers who needed to get a life would sometimes prowl round at night, trying to catch people. I thought I'd create a bit of mischief.

As quietly as I could (and that's not saying much), I crept towards the glow. Whoever it was must have been deaf not to hear me. Then I clapped a hand on his shoulder. He spun round, trying to hide the cigarette. Then I saw who it was. M. Taylor.

"Just as well it wasn't Hogge," I told him , referring to his housemaster.


So he knew my name. One up on me. How had he found that out? Seen it on my books? But perhaps he knew already - after all, we had both been in the school for over two years now.

"Yeah, that's right."

He relaxed a bit. I wouldn't have put him down as a smoker. He looked too cleancut for that. Maybe he was trying to make a statement, look cool. But he wasn't with anyone else, so it couldn't have been that.

"Going to give me a drag then?"

There was a moment's hesitation, then: "Sure. Why not?"

He held up his hand, passed the cigarette over to me. Our fingers touched for a second.

I'm not a smoker myself, but I took a deep drag, and after a few seconds felt the nicotine rush. And pulling on the cigarette that had been between his lips - ah ...

I passed it back, and commented: "I wouldn't have put you down as a smoker."

He shrugged. "Call it my little act of defiance."

A rebel yet. There may have been more to M. Taylor than met the eye - and I liked what met the eye.

He passed the cigarette back to me. I only took a shallow drag this time. I'd no wish to become addicted. He took it back, and took his own last drag, before grinding the butt underfoot.

He stood there for a moment or so, looking at me, then: "See you later," he said.


And I did. First of all in Chem the next morning. We had a practical to do - to see whether molten lead bromide conducted electricity - and sitting on the same table as we did, it was natural enough to work together. I was intrigued by a paradox. I'd noticed when I'd first seen him that he was one of those naturally neat people in his dress. Take two people, give them identical sets of clothing, and after half an hour, one can be a complete mess: shirt out, tie hanging down, top button undone, creases in the shirt and the trousers. Others can look immaculate. So with Mark (I'd finally discovered his name from the school list). He fitted the school uniform as if it had been tailored for him (no joke intended). Not a crease in his trousers or his shirt. Yet his written work was scrawly and scruffy, his practical work sloppy. I ended up doing most of it while he watched.

And the second time I met him was on the rugger pitch that afternoon. It was some inter House tournament. They usually knew better than to pick me, but they were more uncommonly short of players of players than usual. I was stuck in the middle of the three quarter line, where I could do least damage. Not that I was that bad at games, more that I had little interest in them. And there, playing for School House, was Mark, in a similar position on the other side. In the first line out we stood side by side. He grinned at me. He was distinctly taller, which gave him an advantage. Mind you, he looked as about as keen on the game as I was. But it did give me a chance to see him in shorts, and check that those long long legs were as smooth as they promised they might be. And they were. Oh dear. More than I could have hoped for. It wasn't the rugby ball I'd be concentrating on for the next hour.

But by the end of the game he wasn't as clean and well presented, because by now there was mud on his face, grass stains on his kit, and that nicely combed floppy long hair was a mess. Mind you, the rest of us were in an equally bad state. It had poured with rain that morning, and the pitch was beautifully muddy, but nothing must stop the Great English Public School sport of Rugby. And School House had won by the slim margin of two points. We trudged off the field wet and muddy.

And the third time was that evening. I was in the matchbox the school laughingly called Fifth Form Studies - which I had to share, to make it worse. And Tim - well, he was okay, I suppose, but fell into both categories: not in the least fancyable, and not one to Do Stuff. Well, at any rate, he was no distraction to me when trying to get some work done. Then there was a knock, and Mark's head appeared round the door. I stared, surprised. Tim looked up, then turned back to his books. Without saying a word Mark raised two fingers up to his lips; the unmistakeable gesture of taking a drag at a cigarette. I nodded, and closed my book.

Out in the corridor I looked at him: he was clean once more; clean, and very fresh looking. Yum. Yum yum! And he'd come looking for me. Even if only for a cigarette. He raised an eyebrow, and I followed him out into the dark.

"Not over there," I whispered, as he started heading towards the woods.

"Where then?"

"This way."

He followed me round the side of the school theatre. There was somewhere there that I knew.

It's something of a long story, but, what the hell. Putting on plays in an all boys' school can be difficult. Last year we did Julius Caesar, which has only got Portia and Calpurnia as female parts. I played Calpurnia, wig and all. It was easy enough, since I was only on stage for about five minutes, uttering forebodings.

"... And graves have yawned and yielded up their dead,

"Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds,

"In ranks and squadrons and right forms of war ..."

Well, you get the idea. And I had this long dress thing, which I could slip over jeans and a tee shirt. Bare feet and sandals. After I had come off on the last night, I was hanging around backstage. So was Ben. Ben, you may remember, was My First. At the school, that is. And we'd Done Stuff in House several times. So, there we were in the darkness, listening to Brutus taking affairs at their flood. I was standing in front of him, watching from the wings. And gradually I backed into him, and started rubbing my backside into his groin. I could hear him breathing louder and louder as I moved up and down. Then he put his hands in my pockets.

After another ten minutes of this he whispered in my ear: "Outside."

The theatre was built next to an old, Victorian, classroom block. Why they just didn't build the theatre straight onto the block I'll never know, but there was a gap of about eighteen inches separating them; a littler alleyway running between them, that no one used because it was so narrow. And about ten feet into the alley there was a recess in the wall of the classroom block. Why, again, I'll never know. And I've no idea how Ben knew about it. But he did. That's where he took me.

I was into his trousers like a ferret down a drainpipe. Well, I've never seen a ferret in a drainpipe, but it's a nice simile. He was certainly big and wet and sticky. I could hear him gasping as I rubbed the top. And gasping. And gasping. Then he came - a veritable gusher. And kept coming and coming. My God. Not a gusher - a fountain. He was trying to tear himself away from my grip but I was having none of it until he went all limp. And the mess. Needed more than a few tissues to clean up that lot.

I had to wait quite a time before he returned the favour. And then it was a bit perfunctory. Which, given what I'd done for him, was a bit off putting. Mind you, I'd enjoyed doing him. Feeling him squirming like that under my fingers ... gave a nice feeling of power doing that to someone two years your senior.

I think it had all been a bit too much for him. Certainly, when I cornered him a fortnight or so later, he came over all stuttery and started talking about his girlfriend. Time to go straight for Ben.

Well, it was there I took Mark. When we squeezed into the recess, he muttered, "I never even knew this was here."

"Found it some time ago."


But I didn't tell him anything else. It was nice and intimate in there too, which was of course why I'd chosen it. He lit his cigarette and I had the occasional drag. We chatted for a while in low voices, then heard the clock striking. Time to go back again. Time to be locked in again.

I suppose we met in there once or twice a week. Always in the evening after prep. Always for a cigarette - his. Pity about the smell of smoke. And I'd only have one or two drags myself. But it was nice and intimate in there. Enforced intimacy. And I used to wonder - did he? Would he? And if so, how was I going to set things up? Although we were nicely secluded in our alcove, I still hadn't worked out whether he would respond to a gentle touch in the right place. And somehow, I didn't want to risk it going wrong. If I tried it on, and he turned me down, it would mean no more evenings together in the dark. And, somehow I didn't want to lose those.

Give it time, I thought. And at nights, alone in bed, I used to imagine how it might be if .... but somehow I never quite summoned up the nerve to try it on with him. Why, I wasn't quite sure. I'd spent the summer seducing and being seduced. But with Mark, it was somehow different.

We used to talk idly as we stood together in the darkness. I discovered he lived out in the United Arab Emirates - his father was something big in oil.

"You fly out there for the hols?"


"Going there for half term?" Which was next week.

"No. It's not long enough, and besides, well, things are a bit dodgy out there at the moment."

Things were always dodgy in the Middle East. "So where do you go then?"

"Stay with my Gran."

"Oh. Bundle of fun?"

He laughed softly. "Not exactly. She's never heard of computers or DVDs. And she's not exactly a party animal. Her idea of a good evening is watching The Bill on the telly with a cup of tea." I felt rather than saw the shrug.

"Right." I thought about it. Then thought about it some more. Then: "Do you want to come and stay with us?"

There was a pause. Then, cautiously: "Do you mean that?"



"Of course. Wouldn't have asked you otherwise."

Another pause. I waited, breathless. "Can I let you know?" he asked.

"Yeah, sure."

I don't know if he sensed my disappointment at not getting an immediate answer. "It's just that I ought to talk to Grannie first."

I relaxed slightly.

"Mind you," I told him, "our idea of an exciting evening is to watch The Bill - with a cup of cocoa!"

He laughed. "Right. I'll bring my own hipflask." The clock chimed. Time to go. "See you."

"Yeah. In Chem tomorrow."

As I walked back to House, I thought - had I been too hasty there? Was I pushing things too much? And something else ... when I'd first clapped eyes on him, I lusted for him. It was his body I wanted. Mind you, the hormones had been stirred up quite a bit last summer. Jake's party - and Lucy, quite willing to initiate an eager virgin. I hadn't disappointed her either - at least, I didn't think I had, since she'd come back for more. And Sue in Florida .... Jason and his dodgy mates ... now that had been pure animal lust. The only thing Jason and I had had in common was how to get the greatest orgasm ever. And we'd certainly done our best to explore the possibilities.

But Mark - now there was more to Mark than his body - which was gorgeous enough. Those evenings after lights out, imagining his parted lips, closed eyes, that look of ecstasy on his face .... but somehow I wanted more - I wanted him. Mark. Not just the body, but all of him. Hey, I said to myself. Tom - are you falling in love? Was this what it was like?

So. Chem the next morning. Ratty holding forth about atoms sharing electrons. Mark leant over half way through: "Half term. OK."

I looked sideways at him. "You're on?"

"Sure. Don't go heavy on the cocoa."

I hadn't told Mum or Dad yet. Not that they'd have objected anyway - they were out of the house most of the day. Which was part of my cunning plan.

Knowing that Mark was coming to stay for the half term week was a relief. I'd worked myself up about it all. Being turned down would have been more than I could have faced. But I kept on saying to myself: play it cool, play it cool.

The half term began at Saturday lunchtime. Mum picked us up. I introduced her to Mark. He shook hands with her politely. I got in the front of the car, Mark in the back. I'd have enough time to stare at him during the week.

Saturday evening we spent on the computer, watching a DVD, that sort of thing. And no, I didn't lay a finger on him. Keep it cool, I kept on reminding myself. Sunday, Mum and Dad had an excursion planned for us - though I can't say that traipsing round HMS Victory was my idea of fun. It was Dad's, though. And Mark went along with it all. Though I did catch his eye from time to time, and roll my eyeballs. That got a faint smile from him. And once I whispered "Cocoa!" Which got another smile.

But Monday. That's what I was looking forward to. Parents out at work. The day to ourselves. Of course, I overslept. Mark came in to my room around ten.

"Are you always as idle as this?"

"What?" bleary eyed.

He sat down on the edge of the bed. Now this was looking good. Perhaps I didn't need to go into his room after all. Here he was.

And we chatted for ten, fifteen minutes. But he made no sign of making a move. As languidly as I could, I pushed aside the duvet, sat next to him. Still no signs of interest.

Then: "I'm going for a shower," I announced.

"Next to Godliness," he remarked cryptically.


"Next to Godliness."

"What is?"


"Oh." That certainly threw me. But I did my best to stand up and stretch as seductively as I could, pretend to root around for clothes and stuff, and see if he was taking any interest. It was impossible to tell. Finally, I reached for my dressing gown and headed off.

By the time I'd got back, he'd gone back to his room, then I heard him make his own way to the shower. Oh, well.

But it was good to have someone else around. With Mum and Dad out, and elder bro now at Uni, it got a bit much being at home all by myself. Which is why I'd been hanging round town last summer. And met Jason. But not this week. This week held other attractions.

Because as well as being incredibly sexy, Mark was also good company. The day seemed to whiz past. Then Mum and Dad were back, and it was supper time, then another DVD, and, all too soon, bed. By myself, alas. But I set the alarm for nine the next morning.

And when it bleeped, I stirred, looked out from my room. No one about. I crept over to Mark's and peered in. The room was in darkness. As my eyes adjusted, I saw him lying there, on his stomach, face deep in the pillow. And his feet, sticking out from the other end of the duvet. Too good an opportunity to miss. I crept over and gently tickled the soles of his feet. There was an eruption as he was brutally awoken, and he scrunched up under the duvet, his face peering up at me.

"What the hell?"

"Sorry, I couldn't resist it."

He stared up at me, still indignant. I sank to my knees by the bed in mock humility. "Am I forgiven?"

He stared at me a little longer, then stretched out, pushed the duvet away from him. "Yeah, I suppose so."

My word. The body perfect. Revealed in front of me. I gulped, then decided I'd try sitting on the edge of the bed.

"What time is it?" he asked.

"Half past nine," I said, pushing it a little.

"Right." He yawned, stared up at the ceiling, then at me. "What's the plan for today?"

I'd better not tell him what I really had in mind. Instead, I shrugged: "Whatever."


"Whatever. Why, what had you in mind?"

He grinned. Was he flirting? It was so difficult to tell with Mark. But there was a certain ... atmosphere. "Oh, this. And that."

"Hey. Sounds exciting."

"Yeah." He stretched again. Oh, my God. I edged slightly further onto the bed. As he stretched, his tee shirt rode up, exposing that white smooth firm tummy. No, Tom, I kept saying to myself. Don't do it. He won't be ready for it. You'll ruin things.

He looked up once again. "No plans, then?"

Oh, yes, Mark, plans indeed. "Maybe," I said with a crooked grin.

He raised an eyebrow. "Like what?"

I looked down. That bare, bare flesh. So inviting. And - stupidly, without thinking - I reached out, put my hand flat on that smooth belly.

The atmosphere went electric. You stupid bloody fool, I thought. Because there are defining moments in relationships, ones you can't step back from. And whatever happened next, our relationship had changed drastically.

I felt his stomach muscles tense under my hand. I dared not move it, not by one millimetre. I dared not look at him. I could sense him lying there, motionless, tense. Every second seemed an hour. And neither of us said anything, moved a muscle.

Until eventually: "You've been wanting to do that for a long time, haven't you?"

I looked at him, astonished. He looked back, his gaze steady, his eyes unreadable, unfathomable. After a long hesitation, I told him: "Yeah, I suppose so."

"Ever since the first day of term. Outside the Chem lab?" What the hell? How had he seen me checking him out?

"I noticed," he said, with a small smile. Then: "Do you .. Do Stuff?" he asked.

That piece of school slang seemed so odd, so out of place, here. I couldn't answer. He asked again. "Sometimes," I whispered. My voice was ... sort of constrained. I couldn't speak out loud.

"Do you want to Do Stuff now?" he asked.

I was silent. My hand was still there. My bravado had all gone. Somehow he was in charge now.

"Tom?" I suppose I hung my head in shame. Oh, Tom, what's happening to you?

"Tom?" he asked again. I looked at him dumbly. His gaze was steady, his eyes on mine. Why couldn't I read them?

"Do you want to Do Stuff?" he asked again. I was numb with silence. "I don't," he said.

Then what was this all about? I looked down to my hand, still resting on his stomach. I dared not look further down - dare I?

"I want more than that," he said. "Do you?"

I could see his eyes, his face. I nodded. "Yeah. I think I do."


And his hand came and covered mine.

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