I didn't open James' text for at least another minute. Maybe two. I was too busy. Too busy being mesmerised.

 

Mesmerised by the sight in front of me, growing smaller and smaller. Mesmerised by his muscled body, wrapped in a sweaty red t-shirt, and his powerful, beautiful legs pushing further and further along the towering oak-lined pathway. Mesmerised by the fact I'd found him.

 

Because before that, it was a fantasy. He was fiction.

 

When Adam had told me his secret, half naked in his bedroom, a part of me had said it was too good to be true. I didn't think I was out of Mr. Price's league: that hadn't crossed my mind. I was too busy savouring the saltiness of the rugby captain's load on my tongue and between my teeth to think about the coach's.

 

And even when I'd got it out of him, butt naked and under me, that the coach still lived close, deep down that same part of me still didn't believe. I'd decided to go looking, sure, but I wasn't na´ve. I hadn't thought it would be easy.

 

But then I'd found him. Four days later. I couldn't believe my luck. He was no longer Mr. Price. He was Tim, six-foot-two, fair game and real.

 

For a split-second I considered following him. Hitching my schoolbag high and chasing him down in my shirt and black trousers. But I wasn't dressed for running. Not yet, anyway. It would blow my cover. I had no choice but to stick to my plan and be patient. Something I've never been good at. Fortunately I had a five-foot-nothing ginger boy waiting to be played with.

 

He would keep me nicely occupied.

 

Pulling out my phone I caught a reflection of myself in the empty glass screen, lit by the last of the dying sunlight. I was smiling. Big time.

 

To get to my house from the park was easy. All I had to do was cut diagonally across the field, jump the far right fence and then it was a three-or-so-minute home stretch. I decided to walk and type. Thumbing the home button I opened James' reply.

 

Hey sexy. Sounds interesting! You can come over tonight if you like? My parents are pretty cool.

 

No surprise there. Eager little beaver.

 

Would they be cool if they caught me balls deep in your arse?

 

I'd barely made five steps across the plush green grass before his reply pinged through my headphones and vibrated in my hand.

 

LOL. Definitely not! I thought you wanted to talk?

 

I want to do both.

 

I took seven more steps. Ping.

 

Hehe they'll be picking my brother up from judo later. We'll have an hour to ourselves?

 

What time?

 

I reached the other side of the park and my phone chirped for attention. It was getting dark, quick, and the blue glow from my screen obscured my vision. I stopped to reply. Falling into the old creek, dried out or not, wasn't high on my agenda.

 

About 7.

 

Have you done what I told you?

 

It took him a little longer to reply, but when he did I had to stop again. Not because I couldn't see where I was going. I was already over the fence, back on concrete and under street lamps. It was a picture message and it deserved my full attention. I checked the time. It was almost 6 pm. I replied:

 

Good boy. Make sure you do the other thing too. See you in an hour.

 

I wanted to skip the final few hundred yards home, but for obvious reasons I let my thoughts do the frolicking instead. Today was turning out to be one of the best days I'd had in a long time. First Adam. Then Mr. Price. Now James looking better than ever. Even the imminent inevitability of walking through the front door didn't kill my growing erection.

 

It's not that I lived in a particularly bad part of town. It was fine: your bog-standard English suburb of grey semidetached houses, all with a small front garden and a bigger, fenced or hedged one out back. Mass built, mundane, unremarkable.

 

My house was like the rest, at the end of the street, backing onto large, green and empty fields. The same fields that bordered the whole town, including behind the Old Creek forest. There were no chavs or drunks hanging about the street corners. People kept to their own business. No one stood out.

 

Like I said, it was fine. It was what was inside that wasn't.

 

He didn't hate me for being gay. He didn't beat me like Adam's did. He didn't know. But even if he did he wouldn't have cared. My dad didn't care about anything. Not anymore. Not since she left.

 

It happened when I was fifteen. I'd come home from school early to find them arguing in the kitchen, and, as usual, they didn't know I could hear. But something was up. It was different. I could feel it in the air.

 

I remember looking through the crack in the door. I could only see her. She was hunched over the table with her head in her hands; her long blond hair cascading over her knuckles and piling in messy heaps around her. Without looking up she said she couldn't take anymore. She told the tablecloth that now I was old enough, she was getting as far away from this "piece of shit town" as possible.

 

She'd threatened to leave before. Many times. But there was something in her voice that evening. There wasn't fury or indignation or desperation. It was cold. Factual.

 

She tucked me in that night for the first time since I was a child. Kissed me on the cheek. Didn't say a word. Gone the next day.

 

After she left he became a shadow of his former self. And he was already spineless. He didn't break down or go berserk. He just switched off. All he did was work his dead-end job, sit at his computer, sleep and repeat.

 

His parents had died before I was born so there were no concerned grandparents to swoop in. He stopped answering his phone. Cut out his friends. He went to the doctor once. Came back with a diagnosis of severe depression. But instead of taking his medication or going to his appointments, he did nothing.

 

That's a lie. He went to the pub once. For breakfast. I came home from school to find him hunched over the kitchen table. Like mum, but with vomit in the sink. He told me he didn't want to look at me. According to my drooling, stinking, red-eyed excuse for a father I reminded him of "her" and that "bitch deserved to die".

 

We stopped talking. Unless you count him throwing his wallet and barking a shopping list at me. Birthdays were forgotten. Christmases too. He didn't even ask me what had happened when I came home from school bloodied and beaten and broken one day.

 

I hated him. I hated them both. Him for never leaving and her for not taking me with her. But at least, in a fucked up way, they gave me something in return. Freedom. The freedom to do whatever I wanted, with whoever I wanted. And naturally, at seventeen, I relished every moment.

 

Warm stale air hit my nostrils as I turned my key and pushed open the front door. It was his signature stench. The kind of smell that told me, once again, he hadn't left the house. Coffee, body odour, human gas, microwave meals.

 

I kicked off my shoes and took the stairs two at a time. I didn't have long. Throwing my bag into my room I grabbed a clean towel from the pile of laundry I'd done the night before and made my way down the corridor to the bathroom.

 

As usual his bedroom door was closed as I passed. Only a thin strip of artificial light shone through the gap at the bottom between the carpet and the wood. But I knew he was in. I could hear the sound effects of his games and the tap-tap-tap of his keyboard.

 

Fifteen minutes later I was showered and dressed. Jeans, white boxer briefs, tight white t-shirt and a navy sweater, also nicely tight around my torso. I did my hair and brushed my teeth and looked myself up and down in the mist-bordered bathroom mirror. Not bad for a quick change. Not bad at all.

 

Back in my room I pulled on my trainers, grabbed my wallet and phone and another two minutes later I was back on the street, waiting for the bus to take me back into town. It arrived a minute late. I paid my fare and took a seat. I had two miles, five stops and plenty of time to check on progress.

 

On the bus. Won't be long. You ready?

 

Almost. It took longer than I expected. Just getting dressed. My parents probably thought I was wanking in there.

 

Would you prefer they knew what you were really doing?

 

Good point. Ready now. Do you have condoms?

 

A couple.

 

Cool. I have some too. And lube.

 

You ARE a good boy.

 

Hehe thanks. You remember the address right?

 

I scrolled up past his picture message and through our archived conversation. Found what I was looking for.

 

Yup. I'm almost at your stop.

 

Can't wait J xx

 

I rolled my eyes and put my phone in my pocket. Xs on the end of messages made me cringe. This kid thought there was more to our relationship. That would have to change.

 

Making a mental note to ensure everything was crystal clear by the end of the night I pushed the red stop button on the metal pole next to me and hauled myself to the front of the bus. The huge mechanical box slowed to a stop and the door slip open with a loud hiss.

 

Thanking the driver I hopped onto the pavement and into the cold evening air. I hadn't been to James' before, but we'd spoken about me coming over plenty of times. About what I'd do to him. I looked around in the darkness. There was no doubt in my mind: James lived in a good part of town.

 

Not that there was much to see at first. Stretching left to right and around as the road curved out of view wasn't an array of huge houses, rising tall and looking down at the street. At the peasants below. They were further back. Instead stood a thick hedge on top of a tall, brick wall, open intermittently to make room for all manner of security gates or wide gravel driveways.

 

A few steps from the bus stop was a large set of spiked, black metal gates a foot taller than my six. To the right of the impressive barricade was a number pad, a small intercom screen and a double digit number in a plain, unassuming font. Seventy-three.

 

I checked my phone again. When he'd said it was right by the bus stop he meant it was literally next to it. I thumbed a quick message, but before I hit send, the gates began to open. It was 7 pm. I took a step back and enjoyed the theatrics.

 

The mechanism creaked and groaned and then whirred loudly as the spiked metal barriers jutted open. Then the grumble of a powerful, approaching car filled the air before a black Mercedes poked its nose out of the drive. The windows were slightly tinted and it was too dark to see the driver. The car pulled out and I watched its red lights blaze in the darkness as it cruised away.

 

I was already through the gates and halfway up the drive before I heard the mechanism lurch back into action behind me. This was some place. Illuminated by subtle outdoor up-lighting was a three-storey Edwardian house with elegant, grid windows and two symmetrical front-facing dormers.

 

It loomed ever closer as I took step after step on the gravel; first hard and compressed from countless car wheels and then crunchier and unstable as I reached the bright red front door. The knocker was heavy. It boomed like a drum against the wood. Three times.

 

Silence.

 

I knocked again. Then I heard swift footsteps running down a flight of stairs inside. They reached ground level. The handle creaked as it turned but the door pulled inwards almost silently.

 

Dwarfed by his impressive surrounds stood James. Cute as all hell. His short, thick hair glowed orange next to the red door. His bright blue eyes, filled first with surprise, then excitement, looked straight into mine. His freckled face brightened as he smiled a full, white set of flawless teeth.

 

Around his torso was a tight, emerald green t-shirt. He was skinny but undeniably more toned out of his baggy school uniform. His legs were bare apart from a pair of tight, white briefs.

 

Then they were wrapped around my waist.

 

To be continued ...

 

Head over to my website to learn more about Oscar's adventures, including new and exclusive content about my upcoming eBook Oscar Down Under, as well as an audio recording of Oscar, Part 10.

 

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Copyright Jack Ladd 2016

 

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