This is the sequel to Dance of the Wicked Boys. It is not imperative that you read the first novel before reading this one as I have included enough hints throughout the first chapter as to what happened before that a new reader will not be completely lost. However, I would hope you would read the first one as it will help you understand the motivations and the feelings of the characters in the sequel. The story takes place in 1970, so the descriptions of New York City, Times Square, and the drive from New York City to the Hamptons may not seem accurate for a contemporary story but show the way it was forty-four years ago. Times Square wasn't always a Disney Theme Park. Also, the use of anachronistic terms such as “Negro” or “colored” represent the thinking and ways of speaking of the America of 1970 and in no way are intended to be disrespectful to African-Americans. One of the themes of this story is opposition to bigotry and prejudice! Further, there may be things and ways of thinking regarding sex and intergenerational relations that many today would find abhorent, but which, once again, reflect the way things were in 1970 rather than today. SPOILER: no adult men have sex with underage boys in this story, though it might seem that such might happen. However, the story does explore the feelings and the anguish such desires might engender.
DANGER WILL ROBINSON! DANGER! This story may contain scenes of sexual activity between underage males. If it may be illegal for you for read this in your jurisdiction or if you are offended by the subject matter of this story, please read no further. I would be very grateful to hear from you about my story. Please write to me at:
frthnkr1957nifty <at> gmail <dot> com
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Two- The Dance of the Wicked Boys
He was dancing in Heaven.
Jeremy Fenwick leaped across the stage, seeming to float in the air, before he delicately landed and repeated the process six more times. He ended his dance in the center of the stage with a dozen perfectly executed pirouettes a la seconde, spinning on one foot with his other leg extended. After the final spin, he stood with his feet turned out, one before the other, one arm curved down toward his hip, the other thrown triumphantly into the air as he gazed out at the audience with a look of pride and supreme joy on his face. He had done it. Jeremy Fenwick had flawlessly performed the “Dance of Joy” from Lionel Mountjoy's ballet masterpiece, Ode to Life, and the normally cynical and difficult New York audience was ecstatic. They had jumped to their feet in a thunderous ovation, cheering and applauding as never before while his fellow dancers shouted their congratulation and love from the wings. It was the greatest moment of Jeremy's career, the greatest moment of his life and as he looked around, he saw Alistair Mountjoy, the Artistic Director of the Ballet of America and the son of the creator of Ode to Life applauding from the wings, as was Rafael Colón, principal dancer with Ballet of America and the love of Jeremy's life, tears of joy flowing down his cheeks.
Jeremy gazed out across the audience as he bowed and acknowledged their ovation. The audience was absolutely rapturous... except for two people seated in the center of the seventh row. They were not standing. Indeed, they weren't even applauding. They were simply sitting, stone-faced, cold disapproval in their eyes.
Jeremy froze as he gazed with shock at his parents. Had they not seen what he had just accomplished? Could they not hear the ovation he was receiving? Did they not understand that this moment was the culmination of years of struggle and sacrifice, of hard work and unimaginable discipline?
Yes, they saw it all. They knew, they understood—and yet, still they still disapproved.
The plane rocked slightly with turbulence as a chime sounded and a voice came over the intercom, announcing, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. New York Center has ordered us to remain in our holding pattern for a while longer. The storm over New York City has moved on, but they need to reduce the traffic ahead of us before we can be cleared to make our final approach into JFK. We will, of course, keep you informed of what is happening. We thank you for your patience and, as always, for flying Eastern.”
Jeremy was panting as he looked around in confusion. With relief—and regret—he realized he was not on the stage of the Schuyler Theatre at Ballet Centre, he had not just performed 'Dance of Joy,' it was not 1982, he was not twenty-four, and his parents were not looking on with their stern disapproval. It was August 1970, he was twelve years old, and he was seated in the first-class section of an Eastern Airlines 727 bound from Greensburg to New York. He didn't know whether to cry from happiness or pain—or both.
“Jeremy? Are you all right? What's the matter?”
He looked to the left and saw the concern on the face of Rafael Colón, the teenager's chaotic, dark curls falling about his face, his deep, dark eyes gazing at Jeremy with love and fear. The younger boy sighed and sat back.
“I guess I was dreaming,” Jeremy muttered softly as he stared at the back of the seat in front of him.
“It must have been a nice dream,” Rafael remarked as he took Jeremy's hand, “at least until the end. You had the most beautiful smile on your face—and then it seemed that something terrible happened. What were you dreaming?”
Jeremy's eyes grew moist and he took a deep breath. He exhaled, shook his head, and replied, “It was nothing. It was stupid. It was nothing.”
Rafael squeezed the boy's hand and said, “Jeremy, you aren't alone anymore. You're not living with your Uncle Jimmy Dale any longer. I'm here and you can lean on me when you need to. There's no shame in that. I'll understand. Believe me, there's probably nothing you're feeling right now that I haven't felt or experienced myself over the years. I will understand.”
Jeremy looked over at Rafael with his tear-filled eyes and said, “I hate sitting like this, doing nothing and just thinking. I can't take it. I want to dance. I need to get out of this damn plane and dance. Tonight. I need to dance.”
Rafael closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around the boy, burying his face in Jeremy's thick, red hair. “I know, sweetheart. My demons always seem to dance a tarantella across my cerebrum every time I sit and do nothing. And, whenever I feel pain or anger or anxiety or anything, its always better when I dance. Dancing always makes me feel better—that or jacking off.”
Jeremy snorted, despite his pain, and grinned. Rafael pulled away and smiled down at the laughing, blue-gray eyes and the freckles across the boy's nose and upper cheeks.
“I don't imagine it will be too much longer before we're cleared to land,” the teenager said, “and then we'll be in New York and your new life will begin. You've been through hell, Jeremy. Your parents died, you lost the chance to train at the summer session at Ballet Academy of America, your crazy uncle refused to let you continue training because he thought dancing was satanic. I heard my mom telling your Aunt Jane that it was no wonder you plunged in the worst of despairs.”
Rafael caressed the boy's face and said, “I don't know how you survived it all. I'd have killed myself—or your Uncle Jimmy Dale. But, you survived, Jeremy, and now you're free and you're going to fulfill your dream. You're going to train at Ballet Academy of America! You've going to make it, Jeremy, and you have someone who loves you and worships you. You're going to be okay, Jeremy.”
“I know,” Jeremy replied, “and I'm thrilled. I really am. It's just... oh... nothing.”
Rafael smiled and said, “I know. Even in the most wonderful moments of joy, the demons still won't let you alone. There's still something that makes you think you don't deserve it, isn't there?”
Jeremy looked silently into Rafael's eyes and nodded.
Rafael sighed and said, “I know. I know all about that. Well, Jeremy, you do deserve to be happy and you deserve to come to New York and train at Ballet Academy. You do deserve this.”
“I know,” Jeremy replied looking down at the Madras shorts he was wearing. “It's just...sometimes...”
Rafael reached down and squeezed Jeremy's strong, bare knee. “I love you, Jeremy.”
The younger boy smiled and replied, “Me, too.”
Rafael cocked his head and asked, “You love you, too?”
“No, dummy! I love you.”
Rafael grinned and said, “Well, I hope you love yourself, too.”
Jeremy took a breath and then nodded, softly replying, “I do.”
Rafael nodded as a stewardess paused in the aisle and asked the chubby, blond man sitting alone on the other side if he needed another drink.
“My dear, does the starving man need food, the thirsty man water, the lonely man love? Yes, my dear! Yes! I must have Scotch! Fly! Fly like the wind!”
The stewardess grinned and moved on up the aisle. Rafael rolled his eyes and shook his head. Once the stewardess was out of earshot, he looked at the man and said, “That was dramatic, Teddy, even for you.”
The man looked at the teenager over his reading glasses and smiled as he replied, “I have cultivated a notorious and scandalous image that requires constant reinforcement and maintenance.”
Rafael shook his head and smiled. Glancing to his right, he saw that Jeremy had leaned his head back against the seat and closed his eyes. Rafael again looked at the man, who had resumed reading his book, and rose from his seat. Crossing the aisle, he dropped into the empty seat to the right of the man and smiled as his uncle looked up from his book.
“How ya doing, Uncle Teddy?”
Rafael looked around and then asked, “So, whatcha reading?”
Teddy patiently placed a bookmark on his page and closed the book before looking over his nephew and pushing his reading glasses down his nose, responding, “A new novel by the poet James Dickey. Deliverance.”
“What's it about?”
Teddy raised an eyebrow and replied, “Four businessmen take a canoe trip down a river in rural Georgia. At this moment, they are in a service station with a banjo-playing, inbred albino savant.”
Rafael pulled his face back slightly and said, “Sounds like something you'd write.”
“Hardly,” Teddy replied. “I know nothing about the South beyond my dislike of mosquitoes and mint juleps and the fact I always have to ask your hateful mother to translate what her friends are saying into something resembling English.”
“You're a snob,” Rafael remarked.
Rafael cocked his head and asked, “Didn't you win a Pulitzer Prize for a novel about Missouri?”
“Yes, but I have no idea how,” Teddy remarked. “I was in an alcoholic stupor for most of the early sixties. However, Missouri is not a southern state.”
“But, what about the Ozarks?”
“Well, despite an abundance of toothless troglodytes with carnal knowledge of their sisters and a disturbing number of Confederate flags flying over front lawns littered with the rusting carcasses of disused automobiles, neither the Ozarks nor the rest of Missouri are technically part of what we think of as The South.”
Rafael nodded and Teddy took a deep breath before commenting, “However, Rafael, I doubt that you left your dancing orphan and crossed the aisle to inquire about my literary pursuits or to debate American geography. What may I do for my terpsichorean nephew?”
Rafael sighed and asked, “Teddy, am I crazy?”
Teddy nodded and replied, “Yes, dear, you are, though I prefer to think of it as 'delightfully eccentric.' It actually runs in the family. Your hateful mother and I have an Aunt Abigail in Oyster Bay who is firmly convinced she is Alice Roosevelt Longworth, much to the distress of the actual holder of that name, and she never misses an opportunity to regale anyone who will listen with stories of riding horses through the White House with her supposed father, the first President Roosevelt, after whom she insisted I be named, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering father, who never forgave Teddy for running against William Howard Taft in 1912.”
Rafael looked at his uncle in a state of sarcastic frustration as his uncle paused and smiled before continuing.
“Then, there is our great uncle, Ferdinand Cochran, who had the unfortunate habit of running naked in a state of ferocious tumescence through the Boston Public Library while singing 'Buffalo Girls, Won't You Come Out Tonight?”
Rafael continued to stare at his uncle as if he were insane. “Was there a reason for your question, dear?” Teddy asked innocently.
“Well, yes, but I think my particular insanity pales in comparison to the rest of the family.”
“Oh, fear not, Rafael,” Teddy replied encouragingly. “You're young. There's still time for you to make a name for yourself in the annals of psychiatric medicine. After all, like Great Uncle Ferdinand, you do seem to enjoy removing your clothes. I remember one time, when you were three, you came into the dining room for Christmas Dinner completely naked and proudly displaying the most adorable little erection. Your father's sister, your Aunt Maria, the one from Miami who sticks pins in voodoo dolls of Fidel Castro, absolutely shrieked with horror and began praying to all kinds of Roman saints that no respectable Episcopalian would ever have heard of. It was the most fun I'd had at Christmastime since I was thrown out of Gimbals at the age of thirteen when I was caught in flagrante VERY delicto with the most enthusiastic underwear salesman demonstrating for me the very admirable qualities of his wares.”
“You realize you're insane,” Rafael suggested.
“Of course, dear,” Teddy replied. “We're Cochrans. We're all quite barking mad.”
Rafael sighed and said, “Actually, what I meant with my question was if I were crazy for bringing Jeremy to New York with us.”
Teddy looked at him with confusion and asked, “Rafael, why would that be crazy?”
Rafael shrugged and replied, “Well, Jeremy's a fairly normal kid who came from a reasonably normal family. He likes baseball, he tells fart jokes, his aim isn't all that great when he pees. He's a normal boy. Well, except that he wears tights and prances around in front of hundreds of people.”
“Yes, well, there is that.”
“Teddy, we're loony as fruitcakes. I'm a fifteen year-old sex maniac and you're a walking scandal who drinks enough to keep every bar in Manhattan afloat. Then there are all the inflated egos at Ballet Asylum and the general insanity of New York City. Is it really a good idea to take a sweet kid like Jeremy and drop him down in the middle of all this?”
Teddy shrugged and said, “Well, I hate to burst your sense of uniqueness, Rafi, but we really aren't all that strange and different. Horny adolescent males and scandalous alcoholic writers can be found on almost any street corner in Manhattan. Granted, we're not exactly something out of Ozzie and Harriet, but then it's not 1950 anymore, either. It's 1970 and the times, they are a-changing, as Bob Dylan reminds us. Who knows? Someday, we might elect a Negro President. They may let homos marry. Hell, if you really want to get wild, The New Yorker may eventually publish one of my stories! You never know what might happen. Just think, two years ago we put a warmongering Quaker in the White House. How strange was that? Of course, that's not quite working out for us, so that might not be a good example, but the point is... Oh, dear. I forgot the point I was making.”
“Thanks, Teddy,” Rafael replied dryly as he started to rise from his seat. “You've been a big help.
Teddy pulled him back down and said, “Sit, Rafi. The point is that Jeremy has been through hell over the last three months and he's survived it all. I have no doubt that he can survive with grace and aplomb anything Ballet Asylum, New York City, and the Cochran Family Insanity have to offer.”
“But, is it fair to ask him to?”
“Life is unfair.”
Rafael shook his head with irritation and declared, “I'm serious here, Teddy, and all you give me is platitudes?”
“Life is unfair. That's just the way it is, but we deal with it and we move on as best we can. Rafael, we can't live our lives in constant fear that something's going to go wrong. If we do, we'll lose the chance to actually live.”
“But, Teddy, I'm a slut. What if I hurt him?”
“Rafael,” Teddy replied firmly, “you are not a slut. Yes, you are more sexually active than most boys your age, but why is that? You were molested and raped by your stepfather for four years and sometimes it takes years and even decades to get over that. You aren't as promiscuous now as you were when you first came to live with me. You were constantly flirting with every man who came over when you were twelve. Dear God in Heaven, you even tried to put the moves on Truman Capote! Thank God you seem to have gotten your libido somewhat under control—and improved your taste in men while you were at it.”
“I don't want to hurt Jeremy.”
“Rafi, I don't think you would ever intentionally hurt anyone and I doubt you will hurt Jeremy, certainly not intentionally and probably not even unintentionally. However, Rafael, you are human. It may happen, but to be honest, I think you are less afraid of you hurting Jeremy than you are of Jeremy hurting you.”
“What?” Rafael exclaimed. “Jeremy? He's the sweetest guy in the world. He'd never hurt me.”
“I doubt he would, but Rafael, you've never been in a romantic relationship before. Your experience with a real sexual relationship was with your stepfather, God rot his soul. You love me, you're fond of Alistair. You have some kind of feelings for your mother, despite the cobwebs and dung beetles in her fetid heart, but you don't have any real friends, with the possible exception of Dylan Thackeray. It's difficult for you to open your heart to anyone. And who would blame you after the years you spent with Stephen and Cruella.”
Rafael frowned and looked at the floor of the aisle. Teddy took his hand and continued, “Rafi, there are no guarantees that the two of you will remain together. Its entirely possible than one or both of you will find another person someday. You’re 15 and he’s 12! Take it one day at a time and be happy with the love you have. Do not worry about the future. Now, go back over there before Oliver Twist starts thinking that we're talking about him.”
“But, we are talking about him.”
“Well I know that and you know that, but he doesn't know that.”
Rafael grinned and rose from his seat, replying, “Thanks, Uncle Teddy. You actually have been a big help.”
“I know, dear. Now, let me get back to my inbred Georgians.”
Rafael sat down beside Jeremy, who raised a curious eyebrow and asked, “What was that all about?”
“Oh, nothing much,” Rafael replied. “I was just asking Teddy if we were crazy for dropping you down in the middle of our insane life in New York.”
Jeremy frowned and asked, “Don't you think you should have asked that question before they locked us up in an airplane flying to New York?”
“Oh, maybe,” Rafael replied with a shrug, “but, where's the fun in that? I think its a lot more exciting to make rash decisions than to logically think things through.”
“Yeah, I can see that,” Jeremy replied with a sarcastic grin. “So, what should I expect when we get there?”
Rafael shrugged and replied, “Well, Teddy has hot-and-cold-running queens going through the apartment every night. The garbage collectors go on strike every couple of years... oh, and speaking of crazy, the Mets won the World Series last year.”
“Oh, I know!” Jeremy replied enthusiastically. “Wasn't that amazing? Gil Hodges is the best manager and Tom Seaver's pitching in the fourth game...”
“Hold on, there, Joe Garagiola,” Rafael said as he held up a hand. “I don't know the first thing about baseball. I can't tell you the difference between a home run and a touchdown. I don't even know who they were playing.”
“The Orioles, dummy!” Jeremy exclaimed. “How can you live in New York and not know about the greatest World Series ever?”
“The greatest?” Rafael asked skeptically. “What about 1951, when Bobby Thomson hit that walk-off home run when the Giants beat the Dodgers?”
“That was the National League play-offs,” Jeremy explained. “The Giants went on to lose to the damn Yankees in the World Series. And anyway, that was seven years before I was born!”
Rafael smiled and Jeremy looked away for a moment before he frowned and looked back at the older boy.
“I thought you said you didn't know anything about baseball?”
“I lied,” Rafael replied with a grin.
Jeremy smirked and looked out the window for a moment before pressed his lips together. He turned back toward Rafael, looked at him for several seconds, and then said, “Rafael, I know you like sex and I know you like it a lot. I know why and I understand. It's okay and like I said Saturday night, I don't want you to have to change your life because I'm living with you. I don't want to get in the way. So, anything you do is okay. Really. I'll understand.”
Rafael frowned and asked, “What's your point, sweetheart?”
Jeremy took a deep breath and said, “Just don't lie to me about it, okay? I mean, I don't care what you do. I just want you to be honest with me about it.”
Rafael looked down in shame and said, “I won't lie to you, Jeremy. Don't worry. I really don't deserve to have someone as sweet and decent as you. And, I want you to know that I won't be doing it with other guys nearly as much as before, if I do it at all. I won't promise that it'll never happen, but I do promise I'll be honest about it. I love you, Jeremy, and the absolute last thing I want to do is hurt you.”
Jeremy smiled and said, “I trust you, Rafael. Like I said, I understand why you're the way you are and it's okay.”
“Of course, Jeremy, if you want to mess around with other guys—or girls—that's cool with me. It wouldn't be fair for me to be free like that and then expect you to be monogamous.”
“OK, but I don't want to do it with other guys. You're the only guy I want to do it with. And, girls—yuck. I really don't think so. I mean, I like girls, but I don't want to do anything with them.”
Rafael smiled and said, “Well, now, you never know. Hell, even I might do it with one someday.”
“Well, I don't know. It's pretty damned unlikely, but you never know definitely.”
Jeremy made a face and said, “I just can't imagine ever doing it with a girl.”
“Well, you know you're going to have to dance with girls, don't you? It's a little hard to do ballet and not dance with a girl.”
Jeremy giggled and replied, “Oh, that's cool. I know. Believe it or not, I've already done a little partner work. And, I'm already strong enough for lifts and stuff. I mean, I like girls as friends and stuff.”
Rafael nodded and said, “It's weird, but the girls at Ballet Academy all love me. Everyone knows I'm gay, but the girls just love me.”
Rafael shrugged and said, “Because I treat them with respect. They know they can be friends with me and that I won't try to put the moves on them. They can trust me. Besides, when you partner with a girl, you have to build this trust and understanding with her. You have to know what she's going to do, just like she has to know you and what you're going to do. And, you know, not everyone in ballet is as open-minded about male dancers as Alistair. Most companies, most choreographers, most Artistic Directors just look at male dancers as a necessary evil. For most, we're only there to support the women. There are people though who are starting to see that male dancers can be just as important to the ballet as ballerinas.”
Jeremy nodded and said, “I love to watch ballerinas, but there's something about watching a guy, someone strong and powerful do amazing things and still be so elegant and graceful and beautiful.”
“I agree, and it's not just because I'm gay. I mean, I love to watch danseurs because I love the male body, but I also love to watch them because it's just so amazing sometimes to see the mix of power and elegance.”
Jeremy nodded and asked, “What's Alistair like? I mean, is he mean and demanding and stuff?”
“Oh, no!” Rafael replied. “Well, he's demanding and he expects the absolute best of his dancers all the time, but he also knows how to get the best out of his dancers without all the yelling and screaming. He's the kindest and most compassionate man you could ever hope to meet. Everyone loves him. He knows everyone and everything about ballet. He's an amazing man.”
“What's Ballet Academy like?” Jeremy asked.
“Heaven and Hell,” Rafael replied with a grin. “Everyone there is absolutely devoted to ballet and they're all serious about it, so in a way that makes it easier because everyone is like you. But, the competition is fierce. Everyone has to be readmitted each year and it's only the best dancers who get invited back.”
Jeremy nodded and looked down with a look of determination.
“I'll make it,” he declared. “I'll be the best. I have to be.”
Rafael smiled and said, “Don't worry. You will be.”
Jeremy nodded with his jaw set.
Rafael smiled as he looked at the younger boy. “Man, you make me wicked hard.”
Jeremy blushed and grinned as he looked at Rafael and replied, “Me, too.”
“You make yourself wicked hard?”
“No, dummy! You make me wicked hard!”
Rafael chuckled and said, “Oh. Okay. I'm glad we cleared that up, though it's all right if you make yourself hard.”
Jeremy rolled his eyes and Rafael leaned over as if he were going to kiss the boy. Jeremy pulled back and exclaimed in a stronger southern accent than he normally used, “Rah-fay-el!”
“What?” the teenager asked with surprise.
“Not here!” Jeremy whispered. “Someone will see us!”
“I thought you said when we got on the plane that you don't care anymore what people think,” Rafael replied with a grin.
“I don't,” Jeremy answered uncertainly, “but, well, you know...”
Rafael grinned and said, “You're so cute.”
“Maybe I'll let you jack me off when we get home.”
“Maybe you'll let me do more.”
“Maybe I will.”
Rafael smiled and leaned back in his seat.
“You're a wicked boy, Jeremy Fenwick.”
The younger boy smiled for a second before he looked back at the window and softly replied, “Yeah. I know.”
“We're home, Toto! We're home!”
“I don't know, Dorothy,” Rafael replied as he followed his uncle into the terminal. “This doesn't look like Kansas to me.”
“Well, click those ruby slippers together, Rafi, and wish us back to the apartment. I don't want to fight for a cab tonight.”
“Teddy, I'm Toto, you're Dorothy. You're the one wearing the ruby slippers.”
“Oh, that's right,” the man replied with a sigh.
A young man of college age approached the three from the waiting crowd as Teddy and the boys strode toward the concourse.
“A taxi won't be necessary, Mr. Cochran.”
Teddy turned with a curious smile, asking, “And, why is that, my handsome young man with the lush, blond curls and the winsome smile?”
The young man grinned and said, “Alistair Mountjoy sent me to pick you up. I'm his new houseboy, Geoffrey—with a G.”
Teddy clasped his hands together with delight and exclaimed, “Did you here that, Rafael? Alistair has a new houseboy!”
“Yes, I heard,” Rafael replied, making no effort to hide his inspection of the tight jeans Geoffrey was wearing and the white tee-shirt that clung to the young man's broad chest and strong arms. “I'm standing only three feet away.”
“And, he's going to take us home!” Teddy added breathlessly.
“If that's where you want me to take you,” Geoffrey said with a suggestive leer.
“Oh, dear boy!” Teddy cried. “I'm sure you could take me to Heaven if you tried, but I'll settle for Broadway and Eighty-sixth.
“Your wish is my command,” Geoffrey replied as he spun around and began walking toward the concourse.
“Oh, Geoffrey!” Teddy vamped. “Don't tease me!”
Rafael and Jeremy followed Teddy as the older boy glanced at Jeremy, who smirked at him and shook his head. Rafael whispered, “I can't help it! Have you seen that butt?”
Jeremy nodded and whispered back, “Yes, but mine's sexier.”
“Well, that goes without saying,” Rafael replied with a grin.
As they made their way down the concourse toward the baggage claim, Teddy looked over his shoulder at Rafael and declared, “Oh, the Things will be so excited to hear Alistair has a new houseboy!”
“Especially since they're responsible for him losing his last one,” Rafael replied.
“Oh, they were not!” Teddy countered. “Besides, they were just doing what nature intended them to do.”
Jeremy asked, “Who are the Things?”
“They're friends of Teddy's who...” Rafael started, but was interrupted by Teddy, who said, “Don't you dare say a word about my Things! I don't want his first exposure to them to be tainted by your biased comments!”
Rafael snorted and said, “He'll need a vaccination first.”
“Oh, he will not!” Teddy declared. “They're sweet boys. They just need a good mother.”
“And, the occasional shot of penicillin.”
Teddy started to retort, but Rafael cut him off by asking, “So Geoffrey. Are you even old enough to drive? You look fourteen.”
“I'm actually twenty,” the young man replied with a flirtatious grin. “I've just been blessed with youthful beauty.”
Teddy remarked, “You and Alistair must bathe in the same fountain of youth.”
“We do occasionally bathe together,” Geoffrey replied, “but I don't know if Alistair's shower qualifies as a fountain of youth. He really doesn't look thirty-nine, though, does he?”
“Alistair sold his soul to the devil years ago,” Teddy sniped, causing Jeremy to look at Rafael with surprise.
The teenager smiled and explained, “Teddy has a few hurt feelings when it comes to Alistair. Back in olden times, when Teddy was just a little girl, he and Alistair were a thing.”
“Yes, it was really a tragic story,” Teddy added. “Alistair left me at the altar for an Austrian dancer with an enormous zuckerschticken. However, he got his karmic payback. It turned out the Austrian refused to put his prodigious endowment to good use and insisted on always being the one who threw his legs into the air. Alistair likes a little variety, but faced with the same thing every night, he finally left in search of greener pastures free of edelweiss and disused zuckerschticken.”
Rafael grinned, but Jeremy looked confused. The teenager explained, “The Austrian was strictly a catcher, if you know what I mean. Alistair likes to be both a pitcher and a catcher.”
“Oh,” Jeremy replied with a blush. “I get it.”
“I have to say, though,” Geoffrey added as he looked back at the boys, “when Alistair's up to bat, he can really hit a home run with that Louisville Slugger of his, can't he, Rafael?”
“Um, I wouldn't know,” the teenager mumbled with an uncharacteristic blush.
“Well, it's certainly not for lack of trying,” Teddy declared. “Every time we visit the Villa Mountjoy, Rafael prostrates himself on the floor outside Alistair's bedroom door and wails and howls. It's really quite pathetic.”
Geoffrey glanced back with a grin, but then frowned as he saw the discomfort on Rafael's face. “Well, I think Alistair's probably missing out on a wonderful experience.”
Rafael looked up and smiled shyly at the young man and blushed again before he whispered to Jeremy, “I have to tell you something later when we're alone.”
Jeremy nodded and squeezed Rafael's arm as Teddy frowned and whispered, “I'm sorry, Rafi. I didn't mean to embarrass you.”
Rafael nodded, but said nothing in reply. They had arrived at the baggage claim and stood waiting for the carousel to begin moving. Jeremy stepped aside and watched the other three as he realized things were a bit more interesting and complicated than he had first thought when he learned he was going to live with Rafael in New York.
Yes. Life was going to be interesting. Then again, there was the old Chinese curse to remember—“May you live in interesting times.”
“Ah, I love New York!” Teddy declared.
With their luggage safely stowed in the spacious trunk of Alistair's charcoal Lincoln Continental, and his passengers safely ensconced in the back seat, Geoffrey maneuvered his way through the massive airport complex as Teddy maneuvered his way through the bar in the back of the car. Jeremy was plastered to the window on the right side of the back seat, opposite Teddy, with Rafael in the middle.
“I love everything about New York,” the man continued as the car merged onto the Van Wyck Expressway. “I love the special hatefulness of the New Yorker in the morning, the special way garbage collects on the corners when the sanitation workers go on strike, the fragrance of fresh urine in the subway...”
“Oh, come on, Teddy,” Rafael exclaimed. “You don't expect us to believe that you've ever actually ridden the subway, do you?”
“I do and I have,” Teddy replied with wounded pride. “It was the spring of 1949 and I was a freshman at Columbia University. I had ridden a cab down to Times Square one Saturday night in search of some exciting and stimulating abominations when I met the most delightful Jewish Communist from NYU, who promptly invited me to share his bed down in the Village. Well, being the well-bred Cochran than I am, I offered to pay for the cab, but Victor would have none of it. He insisted we ride the subway because that was how The Workers travel. Besides, he said it would be an eye-opening experience and broaden my horizons. Well, it certainly did, I can tell you! I was groped by a pervert from Thirty-fourth Street to Washington Square, which I quite enjoyed. Unfortunately, my wallet was also lifted, which I did not enjoy as it contained what was left of my monthly allowance from Mummy. Fortunately, my subsequent hunger pains were assuaged by the pleasant memories of Victor's deliciously brutal, Trotskyite fuck!”
Rafael stared blankly at his uncle for several seconds before he said, “You do take medication for your condition, I hope.”
“That's what I tell Mummy,” Teddy replied with a placid smile.
Rafael slowly shook his head as he turned toward Jeremy and asked, “Is this your first time in New York?”
“Oh, no!” Jeremy replied as he continued to stare out the window at the retreating airport complex. “My parents brought me and Brian here to see the World's Fair in '65, but I was just a little kid then.”
“What did you see?”
“Besides the World's Fair?” Jeremy asked. “Well, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, you know. All the touristy stuff. We also saw a Broadway musical, too.”
“Tea and Hemlock,” the boy replied. “My parents wanted to see Fiddler on the Roof, but they couldn't get tickets.”
Rafael nodded and said, “You'll probably get to meet Jonathan Durham sometime. He wrote Tea and Hemlock and he's a good friend of Alistair Mountjoy. He's written the music for a couple of Alistair's ballets—Olympia and Atlantis.”
“Really? That's so cool!” Jeremy replied. “I can't believe I'm actually here and this is actually happening.”
“Hey, Jeremy,” Geoffrey asked from the front seat. “Would you like to see Ballet Centre tonight? It's kind of on the way to Teddy's place.”
“Really? Can we?”
Teddy smiled and nodded, replying, “I think it would be a wonderful thing for Jeremy to see the place he has dreamt of lo these many years.”
“So, Geoffrey,” Rafael asked as he looked toward the front seat, “just out of curiosity, how did you score this gig letting Alistair rampage through your rectum every night.”
“Oh, it was quite easy,” Geoffrey replied, to which Teddy added sotto voce, “It usually is with Alistair.”
Geoffrey chuckled and said, “I was stoning my way through my third freshman year at Columbia when my parents decided their dwindling fortune could be better invested in my father’s addiction to fast women and lose cars and my mother’s addictions to Pierre Cardin and Yves St. Laurent instead of my addiction to cannabis and zuckerschticken. So, I left Columbia in June. Then, I was at a party a week after class ended and my old art teacher introduced me to Alistair and after that, it was just serendipity.”
“In my day, they called it sodomy,” Teddy declared.
“In your day,” Rafael replied, “the Lord turned people into pillars of salt.”
Jeremy smiled at the older boy and Rafael grinned and wrapped his arms around him. “Let's make a baby.”
Instead of explaining his remark, Rafael simply leaned over to kiss the boy. Jeremy, however, pulled back and pushed him away, exclaiming once again, “Rah-fay-el!”
“What? I couldn't make out with you on the plane. Now, I can't make out with you in the car?”
Jeremy blushed deeply and said, “What about Teddy and Geoffrey?”
“What? You want to make out with them?”
“No, dummy!” Jeremy exclaimed. “What if they see us?”
Rafael grinned as Geoffrey chuckled in the front seat. “Sweetheart,” the older boy replied, “if Geoffrey's worked for Alistair for more than a week, he's probably seen worse in this car than two boys making out. And, I know for a fact Teddy's done worse!”
Teddy held up his drink in a toast, replying, “Up yours.”
Geoffrey chuckled again and said, “If you need it, Rafael, there's a tube of K-Y next to the Scotch.”
“Is that what this is?” Teddy asked as he lifted a white tube into the air. “I thought this looked a little too clinical to be a mixer.”
Rafael cocked his head and asked, “Just how many of those have you had to drink?”
“Never you mind how much I've had,” Teddy replied defensively. “You've got your hands full molesting young Master Fenwick over there.”
Rafael grinned at Jeremy and answered, “Yes, I do. Now, where were we?”
“I believe,” Teddy responded, “you were about to insert your snake-like tongue down Jeremy's throat.”
The younger boy blushed as Rafael leaned forward. When their mouths came in contact, Jeremy struggled for a second, but quickly surrendered and, after a few more seconds, seemed to become enthusiastic in his participation in the kiss. Teddy leaned back in the seat and smiled as he gazed out the window at the passing landscape of trees along the Van Wyck Expressway.
As the car neared the turn-off to Manhattan, however, Teddy turned his head toward the still kissing boys and said, “Rafael, if you will permit Jeremy to come up for air, he can see where the World's Fair was held.”
“I've been there,” Jeremy replied around Rafael's tongue.
“Oh. Well, then, if you look over there,” Teddy countered, “you get a delightful view of Queens.”
Rafael snorted and, his lips still connected to Jeremy's, replied, “I get a delightful view of queens every time the Things come over.”
Teddy huffed and declared, “Well, if you're going to be that way, I'll just sit here and degenerate. Don't mind me; I'll just be awaiting the Angel of Death.”
Rafael sighed and pulled away from Jeremy, who looked around in confusion as he tried to regain his composure.
“What is the matter, Teddy?”
“Nothing. Nothing at all.”
Rafael gave him a look and demanded, “Haven't you ever been in love?”
“Countless times,” Teddy replied. “Just last week, the Things and I were walking past the Winter Garden Theater and there was the most delicious-looking midnight cowboy posing....”
“And, weren't you fifteen at least once or twice?”
“Briefly. It was during the war, if I remember correctly. New York had been invaded by an army of young, virile, corn-fed farm boys from the Midwest all looking for vaginae in which to plunge their virile, corn-fed, Midwestern penises. And when there were none to be found, they would turn to obliging fifteen year-old boys eager to perform their patriotic duty and offer up their tight asses for the war effort. Ah, it was a glorious time.”
Rafael stared at his uncle for several seconds and then said, “I'm surprised the doctors let you out on the streets.”
“They say that as long as I take my medication, I'm not a threat to myself or to anyone else.”
Rafael shook his head and said and demanded, “OK. You've been in love and you've been fifteen. So, what's the problem?”
“I'm jealous,” Teddy pouted. “I want to be fifteen and in love again.”
Rafael rolled his eyes and said, “Would you feel better if I let you make out with Jeremy for a while?”
“Hey!” Jeremy exclaimed.
Teddy smiled and said, “Not to worry, Little One. Your virtue will remain unsullied tonight—at least by me. Besides, I have my sights set on young Geoffrey With a G.”
“Oh, drat the luck!” Geoffrey replied with a grin. “Wouldn't you know it? Alistair has ordered me to be home by ten.”
“The slave driver,” Teddy spat. “Even I can't operate that fast.”
“Well, we could always say you forgot to set your watch ahead when you landed,” Geoffrey replied. “Besides, he didn't specify if that was ten Eastern or Central time.”
“Hot dang, Geoffrey With a G!” Teddy declared happily. “I like the way you think! Devious and cunning! I may have a place in my company for a boy with your lack of integrity.”
Rafael shook his head and turned back to Jeremy, who smiled eagerly, ready to resume the kissing. However, as Rafael leaned down, Teddy grabbed his collar and pulled him away.
“We will have no more osculating adolescents, at least until you are behind your bedroom door,” the man declared. “Poor Jeremy deserves to see more of Manhattan tonight than the sight of your revolting nostrils.”
“Well,” Rafael pouted as he crossed his arms. Jeremy giggled with embarrassment and resumed gazing out the window at the sights along the expressway.
The car emerged from the Midtown Tunnel under the East River and headed west along Thirty-fourth Street. Jeremy was so excited when they crossed Park Avenue and could see the Pan Am Building to the north that he pointed and cried, “Look!”
Rafael chuckled and wrapped his arms around him again. He started to kiss the boy again, but Teddy exclaimed, “Oh, for God's sake. Do we have to stop and get the two of you a room at the Waldorf?”
Rafael turned his head and sniped, “You wouldn't have to if you had the decency to avert your eyes.”
“That's it,” Teddy declared as he pulled Rafael off the younger boy again and started fanning himself. “No more trading spit until we get home. All the testosterone and male reproductive pheromones floating around in this car are about to give me the vapors!”
“Oh, all right,” Rafael replied wearily. “I suppose we can wait. What do you think, Jerm? Can we wait until we get home?”
Jeremy shyly crossed his legs and rested his hands carefully in his lap as he muttered, “Um, yeah. I, um, suppose so.”
Teddy grinned as he looked up the street and said, “We'll be passing the Empire State Building in a minute.”
Jeremy leaned over and asked softly, “Will we have any time to practice tonight?”
“Oh, no way,” Rafael replied. “They close Ballet Academy at seven when school's out and the company's on hiatus.”
“Well, can't we practice at home?”
Rafael shook his head and replied, “No room. We can do stretches and stuff, but no real dancing.”
A look of panic came over Jeremy's face as he asked, “But, Rafael! What do we do when we need extra practice?”
Rafael raised an eyebrow and replied, “We do what everybody does. We wait until Ballet Academy's open and we go there.”
The teenager grinned and said, “Calm down, Jeremy. It'll be okay. After all, even with my deprived living conditions, I've still managed to be a halfway decent dancer. I got the gold at last year's competition. Besides, you're training at one of the most rigorous ballet schools in the world. Trust me. You will get all the time you need to dance and practice.”
Jeremy sighed and nodded, though he didn't look entirely convinced.
“Oh, that reminds me,” Geoffrey suddenly said from the front seat. “Alistair wants the three of you to come out to the house this week. He wants to work with Jeremy and then he's having a small get-together Friday night and he wants the two of you to dance for everyone. ”
“Cool!” Rafael said. “I love going out to Alistair's.”
“Yes,” Teddy agreed. “I could use a few days of lying beside Alistair's pool and drinking his Scotch.”
Rafael turned to Jeremy and was about to ask him a question, but stopped when he saw the look of panic on the boy's face. “What's the matter, Jeremy?” he asked.
“I can't dance for Alistair Mountjoy yet! I'm not ready! I won't be ready by Friday! I can't!”
“What are you talking about?” Rafael replied. “Of course, you can dance for Alistair. You're a great dancer, Jeremy.”
“But, I haven't danced all summer!”
“What are you talking about?” Rafael replied again. “We've been doing nothing but dance since Thursday. Besides, Alistair knows you haven't danced most of the summer. He'll be cool. Don't worry. Besides, he's going to want to work with you. Alistair loves to work one-on-one with his students.”
Teddy snorted and said, “Is that what he calls it?”
Rafael ignored him and continued, “We're probably going up early, aren't we, Geoffrey?”
Geoffrey nodded and answered, “He wants you to come Wednesday morning.”
“Oh, God,” Jeremy muttered.
“No, no! It'll be great, Jeremy!” Rafael said encouragingly. “You're going to get personalized training from one of the greatest ballet teachers in the world. There are kids who would shoot their mothers for this chance. You can't pay for this kind of training.”
Teddy snorted again and said, “Well, you can...”
This time, Rafael turned and glared at his uncle. Teddy frowned and turned his head.
Looking back at Jeremy, the older boy said, “Really, Jeremy, you're going to look back on this week as the best in your life. You are going to learn so much and have so much fun! Really. You're going to love it.”
Jeremy frowned and pressed his lips tightly together before he replied uncertainly, “Are you sure?”
“Jeremy, think about it. You and Alistair together. You, dancing with the greatest dancer of the last twenty years. Can you think of anything more wonderful?”
Jeremy grinned bashfully and replied, “Maybe.”
Rafael pretended to slap the boy as he grinned back at him.
It was not long before the car turned left on Sixth Avenue and headed north. Jeremy's excitement grew with each block of skyscrapers and hotels. When they passed Rockefeller Center, Rafael pointed upward and said, “That's the RCA Building where NBC is and there's Radio City Music Hall.”
A moment later he said, “This is Fifty-second Street where a lot of the great jazz clubs used to be. City Center is over there and Carnegie Hall is a few blocks north and...”
The car turned left and then, halfway down the block, pulled over to the curb. Jeremy's mouth opened and he softly whispered, “This is it?”
Rafael nodded and said, “Ballet Centre.”
He reached across Jeremy and opened the door. The two boys climbed from the car and stood on the wet sidewalk as Jeremy gazed up at the marquee on an old, elegant theater. In glittering letters, he read, “Ballet Centre, The Schuyler Theater. Ballet of America.” Beneath that had been posted, “September Spotlight Sept 18, Le Corsair Oct 2-11.”
“I'm here,” Jeremy breathed as he gazed up at the building with awe. “I'm here.”
Rafael nodded and said, “Think of all the great dancers who have stood just where you are now, looking up at that marquee, imagining their names on it, and who then appeared on that stage. And, now, Jeremy, here you are, and you will, too.”
The younger boy's eyes grew moist and as a tear trickled down his freckled cheek, Rafael gently turned him to the right and toward an art-deco office-like building with a large window in the front. Beside the entrance was a bronze plaque which read, “Ballet Academy of America. Founded 1934, Lionel Mountjoy.”
“I can't believe I'm here,” Jeremy whispered. He looked up at Rafael and said, “It's all because of you, Rafael.”
“No, it's because of you,” Rafael replied. “You worked hard for four years. You practiced, you sacrificed. You did it.”
Jeremy's gaze shifted between the academy and the theater. He spoke softly, his voice choked with emotion. “A week ago, I almost killed myself and now...here I am. You saved me, Rafael. You brought me here.”
“And, one day, Jeremy, you're going to dance on that stage and the people of New York are going to rise to their feet and cheer for you.”
Jeremy nodded and whispered, “Yes. They are.”
Suddenly, he turned to Rafael and wrapped his arms around the teenager as he began to sob. He turned his face toward the school and the theater, clinging tightly to the older boy as he gazed at the buildings that represented his goals and dreams. Rafael buried his face in Jeremy's bright red hair and squeezed the boy tightly.
After a long moment, as Jeremy gazed with emotion at Ballet Centre, Teddy leaned forward and said, “Boys, we should be going.”
Rafael nodded and gently nudged Jeremy toward the car. Slowly, they crawled back in and as they drove away, Jeremy gazing out the back window until Ballet Centre was no longer in view. Only then did he sit back and lay his head against Rafael's shoulder. The older boy held him tightly. Softly, Jeremy whispered, “I love you, Rafael.”
“I love you, too.”
“Adieu, dear boy! Adieu!”
Teddy stood in the elevator and waved a handkerchief moistened by tears at Geoffrey as the young man stood in the lobby of The Finchley and grinned. Rafael and Jeremy stood behind him, surrounded by their suitcases. As the doors closed, Teddy wailed, “Oh, Rafi! Will I ever see him again?”
“Yes, Wednesday morning,” his nephew replied dryly. “He's driving us to Amagansett. Remember?”
“Oh, yes! That's right!” Teddy replied with delight. Clapping his hands, he declared, “I shall have to wear a green carnation in his honor!”
“I doubt Geoffrey knows much about Oscar Wilde,” Rafael replied, “but, I'm sure he'll appreciate the gesture.”
Teddy shook his head with regret and said, “Rafi, you're never any fun when you come back from visiting my vile and evil sister. I shall have to whip you extra hard tonight to get you back to your usual cheerful and sunny self.”
“Ah, Teddy, you always know what I need.”
Jeremy shook his head and said, “You two are really insane. I think I want to go home.”
“Too late,” Rafael replied. “Now that we have you in our evil clutches, we shall never you go! Mwahahahaha!”
Jeremy grinned as the doors opened to reveal a hallway lined with doors to various apartments. Teddy picked up his suitcase and marched on. Jeremy and Rafael followed with their luggage and after Teddy unlocked the door, he stepped aside to allow Jeremy to enter.
“Cool!” the boy exclaimed as he walked through the foyer and gazed up at the chandelier above. He set his suitcases down and ran into the formal sitting room.
“This is way cool! All the antiques and fancy furniture! It reminds me of my grandparents old home back in Greensburg!”
“Oh, joy,” Teddy replied without enthusiasm. “Just the look I was going for—Old Southern Grandparent.”
Jeremy giggled and replied, “That's okay. I loved my grandparents. This makes me feel like I'm back home with them.”
Teddy smiled and walked over to the boy. Putting his arms around him, he said, “I'm glad, Little One. I want you to always think of this as your home, for it is, for as long as you're in New York!”
Jeremy smiled as he looked up at the man and hugged him back. He closed his eyes and let Teddy hold him for a long moment until they heard Rafael call from somewhere else in the apartment, “Hey! Jerm-Boy! Come see where you'll be sleeping!”
Teddy snorted. “If he lets you.”
Jeremy giggled and Teddy released him. The boy grinned at him and then hurried out of the room to retrieve his suitcases and find Rafael.
Entering a hallway with his luggage, Jeremy paused at the first open door, which revealed a dark room which appeared to contain a desk and walls covered with overflowing bookshelves. He stepped inside and looked around, noticing an old manual typewriter on the desk. Teddy entered behind him and flipped a switch which turned on a lamp in the corner and one on his desk.
“Wow,” Jeremy exclaimed with wonder. “Is this where your write your books, Teddy?”
“It is, indeed, where I put my rambling, alcohol-induced thoughts to paper,” the man replied.
Jeremy stepped toward the desk and pointed to the stack of typed pages beside the typewriter and asked, “Is that your new book?”
Teddy nodded and replied, “God and Random House willing.”
Jeremy lay a hand on the back of the old, leather chair behind the desk and asked, “Is this where you wrote Paradise in Missouri?”
“In that chair, at that desk, on that typewriter.”
“Wow,” Jeremy breathed. “That was my father's favoritist book of all time!”
Teddy smiled at Jeremy's boyish use of grammar and placed his hands on the boy's shoulders. Jeremy added, “I remember one Sunday afternoon when it was raining and Dad was sitting on the couch reading Paradise in Missouri and I was sitting next to him with his arm around me and I was reading Wind in the Willows. Of course, I was just a little kid back then, but that's one of my favorite memories.”
Teddy squeezed the boy's shoulders and replied, “I'm glad you shared that with me, Jeremy. It means a lot to me to know that my efforts have that kind of effect on my readers. You know, I receive advances and quarterly royalty checks and I can read the sales figures and the bestseller lists, but they mean nothing to me compared to the comments I receive from my readers. Thank you.”
Once again, he hugged Jeremy and the boy closed his eyes and leaned his head back against Teddy's stomach and chest.
“Hey, Jermy! Where are you?”
Jeremy sighed and Teddy whispered, “You'd better go. You know how Rafael gets when he isn't the center of attention.”
Jeremy giggled and ran off.
When he carried his suitcases into the next room, he found Rafael standing at the foot of a giant bed, on which he had placed his open suitcases. Jeremy skeptically asked, “A king-size bed?”
Imitating Teddy, Rafael placed his fists on his hips and declared, “Well, you never know when you might need the extra room. Besides, you do tend to be rather energetic when you get going.”
“Me?” Jeremy exclaimed as he started forward. Rafael grinned and wrapped his arms around the boy, restraining him from doing anything physical in retaliation for the comment. Jeremy struggled for a moment and then stopped when his eyes fell on several framed ballet posters on the wall above the bed. Two announced the Greensburg Ballet's 1965 and 1966 productions of The Nutcracker while two more proclaimed the Ballet of America 1968 Midsummer Night's Dream and 1969 Coppélia. Jeremy took a deep breath and said, “Wow.”
Rafael grinned and said, “You have posters for your performances in Greensburg, don't you?”
“Yeah,” Jeremy replied distractedly, “but they're in storage.”
Rafael caressed Jeremy's face and said, “Why don't you have your Aunt Jane or your brother send them up and we can mount them, too. After all, this is your bedroom, too.”
Jeremy looked up at Rafael and smiled, whispering, “I love you.”
Rafael smiled and hugged the boy tightly. Jeremy turned his head and lay it against the older boy's sturdy chest. However, as he did, another poster on the wall to the side of the bed, caught his attention. It showed a danseur with strong legs and arms, wearing white tights and a brocaded vest, performing a flawless Grand Jeté, his arms and legs perfectly parallel to the stage, his red hair flying about his head, a look of rapturous pride on his face. To the side was printed, “Ballet of America, World Premier, Lionel Mountjoy's Ode to Life. Sept 30, 1960. Schuyler Theater, Ballet Centre.”
Jeremy stared at the man for several seconds. When Rafael realized what he was doing, he looked at the poster and smiled with resignation.
“Who's that?” Jeremy whispered.
Rafael took a deep breath and said, “Alistair Mountjoy.”
Jeremy looked up at Rafael in amazement and asked, “That's Alistair?”
Rafael nodded as Jeremy looked back at the poster. “Yep. He was twenty-nine then. They say that was his most magnificent season, 1960-61. He was acclaimed for his Siegfried in Swan Lake, his Conrad in Le Corsair, and his Adam in Ode to Life.”
“He was... beautiful...” Jeremy breathed in awe.
Rafael nodded and said, “He doesn't look much different today. He still dances and keeps himself in shape. Now you know one reason why everyone's in love with him. He's a god.”
“He is...” Jeremy whispered.
Rafael looked down at the boy and saw a prominent rise in the front of his shorts. “Are you going to be able to dance with him this week, or are you going to act like a love-struck girl meeting Paul McCartney for the first time?”
Jeremy looked up at Rafael with amazement for a moment before he looked back at the poster and replied, “I'm going to be dancing with him this week?”
Rafael nodded and then said, “Jeremy, there's something I need to tell you, something about what we were talking about earlier when Teddy embarrassed me about Alistair.”
Jeremy looked up at Rafael, waiting, when Teddy suddenly declared from the doorway, “Oh, for Pete's sake, do I have to get a crowbar and separate the two of you?”
Rafael sighed with resignation as Jeremy looked over his shoulder and smiled as he blushed. Rafael muttered, “Perfect timing, as always, dear Uncle.”
“Of course!” Teddy replied. “I'm going to call Alistair now and thank him for letting us use Geoffrey. Rafi, when you're finished in here, why don't you go to the kitchen and prepare a snack for us. And, Jeremy... well, you can do whatever it is Jeremies do.”
“He'd better not!” Rafael declared. “He's not allowed to do that by himself anymore!”
Jeremy giggled as he stepped away from Rafael and replied, “I'll try to be good, but you might need to spank me to remind me.”
“Oh, God,” Teddy muttered as he turned around and walked out of the room. “An hour and a half in New York and he's already turned into a pervert!”
Jeremy giggled and turned to Rafael.
“So, what do you want to tell me?”
Rafael sighed and said, “Maybe later, when we go to bed.”
Jeremy cocked his head and replied, “It's okay. Whatever it is, I love you, Rafael.”
The teenager smiled at the boy, though on the inside, he was wondering how a boy as sweet as Jeremy could love someone like him.