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 abhorrent, 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.
Ballet Academy of America and Ballet of America are fictional entities and any resemblance to existing institutions is purely coincidental. Greensburg is a fictional city.
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
And PLEASE contribute to Nifty! This is an invaluable resource for the GLBTQ community and a bastion in the fight for Internet freedom and Free Speech!
Two- The Dance of the Wicked Boys
“Hey, how's it going?”
“We just ate dinner and Jeremy's in the bedroom writing some letters back home. I took care of his feet earlier and sucked his dick and then we took a nap before dinner. I have a nice, romantic evening planned for later. I had Teddy get a couple of yin-yang pendants and chains at Tiffany's and I want to give them to him tonight.”
“Oh, that sounds sweet. You're such a romantic, Rafael.”
“Yeah, well. I suppose,” the teenager replied. He was looking across the living room and out the windows at the apartment building across Eighty-sixth Street. “I'm worried about Jeremy, though. I tried to explain how things are, that even if Conrad wants a romantic relationship, he won't see him much, between the schedule conflicts and performances and Conrad's outside obligations and such.”
“Yeah, he'll be lucky to see him more than a couple of times a month,” Dylan replied. “When we were dating, I slept with him three times in two months.”
“So, tell me about Conrad. Is he serious about this? Is he just leading Jeremy on? Is he going to use him? What's the deal?”
Rafael could hear a sigh on the other end of the line before Dylan said, “Rafael, this is the real thing. Conrad doesn't play games. With me, he was completely open. There would be no deeper relationship. It would be sex for sex’s sake and I was cool with that. But, he's good and decent and honest. When he says something, he means it. He won't jack him around. He wants to mentor Jeremy. Conrad's a decent guy.”
“Yeah, I know. It would be a lot easier if he was a schmuck and you could just tell him to fuck off and leave your boyfriend alone. Of course, it would make it a lot easier for me if Conrad would whisk him away and leave you all to me.”
Rafael chuckled and said, “You are nothing if not persistent, are you, Miss Dylan?”
“That's me. Little Miss Persistent. Of course the only thing that's ever helped me with is my dancing. I still don't have a boyfriend.”
Rafael smiled sadly and said, “I'm sorry it worked out this way, Dylan. I really am, but I'm grateful you're so understanding and so willing to help me with Jeremy and this situation.”
“Well, I love you, Rafael and there's nothing I wouldn't do for you.”
“I know. So tell me about Conrad. What was it you wanted to say earlier?”
Rafael heard Dylan take a breath and say, “Conrad is not a bad person. He's very professional and very disciplined. Some people think he's a robot, but Conrad feels things. He feels things very, very deeply. We were watching the solar eclipse last spring in Central Park with one of those solar eclipse periscopes and he was moved by the sight of the moon moving across the sun. He teared up watching kids flying kites. He's...not what you think. And, he gets serious about things. He won't use Jeremy. And, that's what I wanted you to call me about. That's what scares me about this. He won't use him. He will be a gentleman and if he says he's going to mentor him, he's serious.”
“Well, that's good, then, isn't it?” Rafael asked with hope.
“Yes and no, because it also means that if he falls in love with Jeremy, its going to be all in. There's no middle ground with Conrad. People think he's an iceberg, but the truth is he's a volcano of emotion. It's just that he keeps it all inside.”
Rafael looked down at the floor in despair.
“Will I loose Jeremy?” he asked in a weak voice.
“No. You'll still have him because he won't have much time with Conrad. Besides, what he has with you will be completely different from what he'll have with Conrad. You know that a lot of boys in our world have men and they're different from any boyfriends they might have. I mean, look at you and Alistair.”
Rafael sighed and said, “There really isn't that much between me and Alistair anymore. I'm getting older and he has less time for me, and since I’ve found Jeremy…”
“Actually, that's good. The older you get, the more likely it is that he'll have a relationship with you. Look, Alistair's mainly interested in men, not boys. In think Conrad is, too, but the thing about Conrad is that he's all in whenever he does something. So, you will have to make time for Jeremy to be with Conrad, whether it's just mentoring or if it becomes something more...romantic.”
Rafael sighed and said, “Yeah, I was afraid of that. Well, listen, since Jeremy's riding with Conrad out to the house, why don't you ride with us?”
“Cool. I really didn't want to take the train out there. I hate Penn Station and I hate changing trains in Jamaica.”
“Cool. Teddy says Geoffrey's picking us up at nine, so you want us to swing by and get you or you want to come over and have some breakfast with us?”
“Breakfast sounds good. I'll be over there around eight. How's that?”
“Cool. Dylan...I want to thank you. You're special. You may be a crazy, flighty queen, but you're still special and I do love you.”
“I know, damn you. I'll see you in the morning. Hugs and kisses.”
Rafael smiled as he put the receiver down. He could hear La Bohème emanating from Teddy's study. He looked around the slowly darkening living room and pressed his lips together. He thought about what he needed to do with and for Jeremy, but he was worried about the nightmare, about the feelings of shame, the feelings about his parents, and the possibilities of what the future might hold for him. He sighed and stood. Things were going to be unusual, frightening, and wondrous for Jeremy and Rafael needed to be the stability, the rock in Jeremy's life. Yes, he had to be a pillar of strength that Jeremy could rely on while he experienced the uncertainties he would be facing.
He walked to Teddy's study and knocked on the door. When Teddy asked him to enter, he stepped in and asked, “Do you have my gift for Jeremy?”
Teddy smiled and nodded. He opened a drawer in his desk and withdrew a long, powder blue box marked “Tiffany and Co.” He handed it to Rafael, who opened it and inspected the contents. He nodded and said, “It's perfect. Thank you, Teddy.”
“It was no problem. I was delighted to be of assistance,” the man replied. “What did Dylan have to say?”
“He assured me that Conrad wasn't going to use Jeremy, that whatever he did would be sincere and decent and...that he never does anything halfway. He said Conrad has an image of being cold and unfeeling, but that he actually feels things quite deeply. So, I'm both relieved and scared.”
Teddy nodded and said, “I understand. Well, go to him and let Jeremy know that no matter what happens, no matter what the future holds, you will be there. You will be his rock, his anchor. He needs to know that.”
“Yeah, I know,” Rafael replied softly. “I want this to show him that no matter what happens to him in the future, no matter how things go with him and Conrad or how things go at Ballet Academy or whatever, he can always depend on me. I will always be there for him.”
Teddy smiled and said, “I'm proud of you, Rafi. Three years ago, even a year ago, I couldn't imagine you taking on this kind of responsibility and love. I'm so proud of you.”
Rafael looked down and said, “Let's wait and see how I actually do. I can still fuck this whole thing up all the way to Hell.”
“That's the spirit!”
Rafael gave his uncle a rueful look and sighed as he turned and said, “Dylan's coming over for breakfast in the morning and then he's riding out with us.”
“Good. I miss the little queen. Finally, someone who makes me look butch.”
Rafael chuckled and left the room. At the next door, he peaked into the room and found Jeremy sitting barefoot and shirtless at the desk and writing. He gazed at the boy's strong back and sturdy arms, the unruly red hair falling about his head, the way his bandaged feet were crossed under the chair, and he felt a rush of love.
“Hey, you,” he said roughly. “Come here.”
“I'm almost done with my last letter,” Jeremy replied. “I took your advice. I'm writing a short letter to Brian.”
Rafael smiled and walked slowly into the room, his eyes taking in the raw sexiness of the boy as he approached. He tossed the Tiffany's box on the bed and placed his hands on Jeremy's shoulders. A soft moan escaped the boy as Rafael gently massaged his shoulders. The teenager leaned down and buried his face in Jeremy's red hair, moving his nose through it as he breathed in the scent of the boy.
“Man, you make me so wicked hard,” he whispered. “I love you so much, Jeremy.”
The younger boy looked up and smiled as Rafael kissed his forehead. “You're not bad,” he said with a grin.
Rafael smirked and reached down Jeremy's bare chest and playfully tugged at his nipples. He grinned when Jeremy stiffened as he had earlier that day. The younger boy gasped and softly moaned, “Oh, oh, oooooh.”
“Do you like that?” Rafael asked quietly.
“Yeah,” Jeremy responded, leaning back in the chair and laying his head against Rafael's crotch and the growing stiffness within. “Feels so good.”
Rafael smiled and continued to play with the boy's nipples and Jeremy began to squirm about in his chair, moaning softly ever few seconds. Jeremy’s hand reached down and began to squeeze the hardness in his own shorts. Rafael's first instinct was to pull it away, but he smiled and let the boy pleasure himself as he give Jeremy's nipples his gentle loving. However, when he felt the boy losing control, he gave his nipples a final, tender tug.
Jeremy looked up and whispered, “Why'd you stop?”
Rafael smiled and said, “I have something important I want to do.”
Jeremy grinned mischievously and asked, “Are you going to give me my present from Tiffany's?”
“Yes, you little turd. Now shut up and stand before I tickle the pee out of you.”
Jeremy giggled as he pushed the chair back and stood. “So, you're the boss of me?”
“Yes,” Rafael replied, “because now I know all I have to do is play with your titties and you melt like butter.”
Jeremy giggled again, but then started breathing hard through his mouth as he watched Rafael drop to his knees before him. The teenager caressed Jeremy's hardness before slowly unfastening Jeremy’s belt and unzipping his shorts. Pulling them down together with Jeremy's underwear, he freed the boy's erection. Jeremy stepped out of them and Rafael enveloped his penis in his mouth. The boy groaned before the teenager pulled off, bent lower, and kissed his balls. Standing up, he took Jeremy's hand, led him to the side of the bed and pulled the covers back. The boy crawled in and watched Rafael undress and toss his clothes carelessly on the floor. Picking up the box from the end of the bed, Rafael walked around to the other side and crawled in. He set the box aside and wrapped his arms around the younger boy. Smiling as they gazed into each other's eyes, they kissed gently and then with increasing passion and fervor. They began to writhe against each other until the younger boy stiffened and cried out into Rafael's mouth. Rafael grinned and wiped the few drops of Jeremy's thin semen off their abdomens and then licked his fingers clean as he smiled at the boy.
“Do you want me to make you do it?” Jeremy asked.
“Not yet,” Rafael replied with a smile, “I want to do this first.”
He reached over to the side and picked up the box. He held it out to Jeremy, who smiled at him and took it in his hands as he rolled over onto his back.
“I like the box,” he said softly as he held it.
“Fine. You can have the box,” Rafael replied. “I'll take what's in it back.”
“No way!” Jeremy replied as he quickly hid it under the covers.
Rafael grinned and said, “Open it.”
Jeremy brought it back out and lifted the top off. Taking a look within, he whispered, “Oh, wow.”
He lifted the two pendants out of the box and held them before him. He looked at them curiously and asked, “What are they?”
“They're the yin and the yang. In Oriental philosophy, they symbolize how two opposites are part of the same. See how they fit together. It means that you and I are two people but we are one whole so that no matter where we are or what we're doing—or who we're doing it with—we're together. We're one.”
Jeremy looked over at Rafael and smiled before he whispered, “What a beautiful idea.”
Rafael nodded and said, “You remember when Conrad was talking about the Band of Brothers in Greece? Well, Plato wrote a dialogue called The Symposium in which one of the guests at the dinner party he was describing suggested that the love between men was more pure than the love men had with women because that was based on procreation—having children—and the other was based on philosophy and principles and that when two lovers come together, it's because they were originally one soul that was divided into two and is now coming back together. I like that idea, that we are actually one soul, two halves that were united, or reunited, and that's sort of what this symbolizes, Jeremy. You and I are two halves that have been reunited.”
“That's beautiful. And, it's true,” Jeremy replied. “Will you put this one on me?”
Rafael smiled, kissed the boy on the lips, and took the chain in his fingers, wrapped it around Jeremy's neck, and fastened it. He did the same to himself and then smiled again as he said, “Now, no matter where we are, we are always together. We are always one. We are always united.”
He caressed Jeremy's face and added, “And, when one of us is with another person, in whatever way we are, we will still be united, we will still be together, we will still be one.”
Jeremy pressed his lips together and looked away. Rafael ran his fingers over his eyebrows and asked, “Hey, what's the matter?”
Jeremy paused for several seconds, looking at the other side of the room, before he replied, “Even if I...if I'm...like...doing it with another guy?”
Rafael kissed his cheek and said, “Especially when you're doing it with another guy. You and I are always united. We are always one.”
He put his index finger on the edge of Jeremy's cheek and pushed his face toward him. Jeremy looked at him with shame and Rafael smiled, kissed him, and said, “You like Conrad. You’re excited by the idea of you two doing it.”
Jeremy nodded. Rafael kissed his lips and whispered, “I love you and I want you to experience everything life has to offer and to be as happy as you can possibly be. I've talked with Dylan about Conrad and I think if you want to have a man love you, that is just fine with me. I love you. You and I are never going to be divided, Jeremy. Never.”
Jeremy's lips trembled and the boy whispered, “I love you so much, Rafael. I don't deserve you.”
Rafael smiled and kissed the boy deeply before they began to make love again.
Jeremy and Rafael were performing “Dance of the Friends” on the stage at Ballet Centre. The house was packed and everyone was cheering. It was wonderful. Rafael's dancing was exuberant and alive and Jeremy—Jeremy was naked, but his dancing was amazing. He felt more alive than ever before—until they were to begin the six Grand Jeté at the climax. Suddenly, Uncle Jimmy Dale walked out on stage and stood in Jeremy's path. Not only that, but he, too, was naked—and hard! Jeremy was revolted –and aroused. He wanted to reach out and grasp Jimmy Dale's erection, but he didn't because his mother and father were approaching behind his uncle.
“You're a wicked boy, Jeremy! Wicked! And, you're going to hell!” Jimmy Dale yelled at him.
“No! I'm a good boy!” he cried. “I am! Mommy, I'm a good boy! I am! I am, Daddy! I'm good! See how good I'm dancing? Everyone loves my dancing!”
But the audience was no longer cheering. They were turning their backs on the stage and leaving. Rafael still dancing, was ignoring everyone, including Jeremy.
“You're wicked,” his mother declared.
His father nodded and said, “You're a wicked boy. You do wicked things, Jeremy, and you have wicked thoughts! I'm very disappointed in you.”
“No! No! NO!”
Rafael was holding him, softly speaking.
“Jeremy! It's a dream, sweetheart! It's just a dream! You're okay sweetheart! You're okay! I love you, Jeremy.”
Jeremy looked around the dark bedroom and out the window at the night sky above the city. With a soft cry, shaking in Rafael’s arms, he sobbed, “Oh, God!”
“You should know, Dylan, that Teddy said yesterday that you're the only person in the city who can make him look butch.”
They were standing on the sidewalk in front of the apartment building, their suitcases at their feet. Rafael grinned at Dylan. Teddy gave his nephew an imperious look. Jeremy grinned. Dylan vamped, “Well, girlfriend and I are dragging out together on Halloween. She'll be Big Bertha, the Cannon that Can't Fire, and I'll be Labia Menorah, the Jewish drag queen.”
“You vile little bitch!” Teddy cried. “You're not even Jewish. You're more Episcopalian than we are. And the only labia you've ever seen or ever will were the one's you passed through when you were expelled from that nasty, waspy womb of your mother's!”
Dylan had snapped his fingers at Teddy and turned his head with reproach when a red Porsche honked as it roared up to the curb in front of the building. Conrad Hartsfeld, wearing Ray-Bans and smiling, nodded as he came to a stop and turned off the powerful engine. He waved at the red-haired boy and asked, “Jeremy, is that you behind those Foster-Grants?”
“How did you know they're Foster Grants?” the boy asked.
Conrad grinned at Rafael, who grinned back. The man climbed over the driver's door and walked around the front of the car to the unusually-reserved Teddy, to whom he extended his hand and said formally, “Conrad Hartsfeld. It's an honor to meet you, sir. I read your first book in junior high school. Boys in the Square gave me the inspiration to stand up to my family and be completely honest about who I am and what I want from life. I owe you a great deal.”
Teddy's smile warmed considerably as he replied, “Well, I don't know what to say. I am so gratified to know that it had such a positive effect on your life.”
Conrad nodded and said, “I came very close to running away before I read that book. I might have been one of those boys in Times Square instead of a trainee at Ballet Academy. Thank you.”
Teddy smiled and nodded his thanks before he asked, “Now, you will be careful with our boy, there, won't you? No speeding through the canyons of Manhattan. You will remember that the Long Island Expressway is not the autobahn, I assume.”
“Of course,” Conrad replied with a grin as he grabbed Jeremy's suitcase and tossed it in the tight back seat with his. He added with a grin, “You realize, though, that at some point, I have to demonstrate the car's capabilities. I mean, what boy can ride in a German race car and not have a little fun?”
Rafael took his arm and whispered in his ear, “Jeremy is very special, Conrad.”
“I know,” the man replied back. “We will talk in Amagansett.”
Rafael nodded and Conrad smiled at him.
“All right, Fenwick!” Conrad called as he strode around the front of the car to the left side again. “What are you waiting for?”
Jeremy giggled with delight as he climbed over the passenger side door and dropped into the seat, watching Conrad do the same. The man reached over to the glove box and withdrew a bottle of sunscreen before handing it to Jeremy.
“Put this on everywhere that's exposed,” Conrad said. “I don't want your skin to look like your hair when you dance for Alistair Friday night!”
Jeremy giggled and began to apply the cream to his face and arms as Rafael leaned over and whispered, “Are you okay, now?”
The significant look he gave the boy let him know what Rafael was referring to. Jeremy smiled and nodded as he replied, “Yes. I'm okay. I was just... well... you know.”
Rafael nodded and squeezed Jeremy's shoulder as he said in a low, but more audible voice, “Have fun. Enjoy the ride. I'll see you in Amagansett.”
Jeremy nodded and grinned before replying, “I love you, Rafael.”
“You love you, too?”
“No, dummy!” Rafael replied with a laugh. “I love you!”
Jeremy beamed with joy at him. Conrad started the engine and revved it up loudly. Teddy clasped his hands with concern as the famous dancer grinned at him and then slowly and carefully pulled out into the morning traffic on Eighty-sixth Street just as Geoffrey pulled up in Alistair's Lincoln. Jeremy looked over his shoulder and waved joyously at Rafael and the others. Rafael blew him a kiss. The light at Broadway was already green and Conrad made a left turn onto the wide boulevard. Jeremy turned back around when they were no longer in view.
“Well, what do you think of the car?” Conrad asked, the wind tossing his blond hair and Jeremy's red hair about their heads.
Jeremy grinned and replied, “This is awesome! I love this car!”
“Just wait until we get on the highway,” Conrad remarked with a grin, “and I can open her up!”
Jeremy giggled and said, “My dad always wanted to get a Corvette, but Mom said he couldn't until me and my brother were grown up.” He looked wistfully down Broadway and added, “He never had a chance to drive a sports car.”
Conrad smiled and glanced to the side. After studying the boy for a moment, he remarked, “You were very close to your parents, weren't you?”
Jeremy nodded solemnly and Conrad said, “Jeremy, I think you have a lot of promise and the potential to be one of the greatest dancers ever and I intend to make sure you become everything you can be. It's going to take a lot of hard work, a lot more than the other trainees at Ballet Academy will go through. I think you already know that Alistair has taken a special interest in Rafael and works with him. I'm going to do the same with you and I can promise that you will be a dancer of whom your parents would have been proud. You will be a spectacular dancer, Jeremy. World class. You will be a god in the dance world.”
The boy looked at Conrad with pride and determination and nodded. “I'll do whatever it takes. I'll do whatever you tell me to.”
“Good man,” Conrad replied with a nod. “So, tell me. What led you to ballet?”
Jeremy grinned and said, “Dad got tickets to Nutcracker from Rafael's stepfather. I had never been to the ballet before. I had seen dancers on TV, of course, but I had never been to a real, live ballet and I'd thought it was all just people prancing around the stage in tutus. But, when I saw it, when I heard the music and saw the stage and watched the dancing...it was like everything changed. I mean, I had always listened to classical music. Mom and Dad made sure of that, but I had never seen anything like that actual performance before.”
He looked at Conrad and said, “I fell in love with ballet that night.” He paused and grinned, adding, “And, Rafael.”
“I suppose he was Fritz,” Conrad said.
Jeremy nodded and said, “I know Fritz normally doesn't do much, but in Madame Pulchova's version of Nutcracker, he dances a lot more and besides, Rafael also got to do the Russian Dance and I was so amazed at the Cossack dancing he did! You should have seen it! The audience cheered him. It was amazing. I decided that I wanted to be a dancer just like him.”
“Rafael is a very gifted dancer,” Conrad replied, “and you would be hard-pressed to find a better role-model for a dancer.”
“He's wonderful,” Jeremy declared, “and I love him more than anyone or anything on earth.”
Watching the traffic on Broadway, Conrad smiled. He glanced over at the boy as they passed Lincoln Center and smiled at the joy and excitement on Jeremy’s face as he gazed at the beautiful buildings. Conrad pointed to the New York State Theater and said, “Someday, Jeremy, you may dance on that stage. You might end up with City Ballet or maybe Ballet of America will be permitted to perform there.”
Jeremy turned around with a smile and asked, “Where all have you performed?”
“Well, besides Ballet Centre, I've danced at Covent Garden in London and the Palais Garnier in Paris and in Amsterdam and Copenhagen and West Berlin, Zurich, Vienna, Milan...”
“I want to dance in all those places. I want to see the world,” Jeremy declared. “I want to be the best dancer in the world.”
Conrad was about to reply when Jeremy quickly asked, “Are we going to practice this afternoon?”
“Yes, we will,” Conrad replied with a smile. “I'm sure Alistair will want to work with you at some point today and I will most definitely want to work with you today. We'll see what Alistair has planned and then work our training around that.”
Jeremy nodded and Conrad said, “You're a very fortunate young man, Jeremy. You've earned the opportunity to train with two of the greatest dancers in the world. You should see Alistair dance. Even now, after seven years, he's still a magnificent dancer. He was acclaimed as the greatest dancer in the world before he took over the company from his father. And, I, if I may be forgiven for saying so, am one of the greatest in the world now. Take advantage of this opportunity, Jeremy.”
“Oh, I will!” the boy declared fervently. “I have to be the best. I have to and working with you and Alistair...it's been my dream to work with the greatest dancers!”
“You will, if I have anything to do with it,” Conrad replied as he patted Jeremy's knee. Quickly, however, he withdrew his hand and cleared his throat as he returned his attention to making it through Columbus Circle.
“And, so, there he is, standing before the Queen of England, absolutely blitzed out if his mind...”
Jonathan Durham yawned from boredom as he sat in Alistair's study, sipping an iced tea and gazing out the window at the garden beyond. Alistair was seated across from him. He stopped speaking in mid-sentence before he asked, “Am I boring you, Jonathan?”
“Well, I am most extraordinarily sorry,” Alistair replied dramatically.
“Alistair, I've heard a dozen times how your father told the young queen how he could have made her a magnificent dancer. You tell that story every time you're trying to avoid discussing something unpleasant. So, while you continue to avoid discussing things you'd rather not discuss, I'm going to sit here and fantasize writing a musical about newspaper boys from the turn-of-the-century.”
“Will there be any women in it?”
“Of course not.”
“Then it will be a dismal failure. No one will come see it.”
“Homosexuals and pedophiles will.”
“My point exactly.”
“You don't think there are enough homosexuals and pedophiles in New York to support a musical aimed at them?”
Alistair impatiently set his glass down on the table beside him and said, “Go ahead, Jonathan. Ask the questions you've been dying to ask all morning.”
“Tell me about this new boy with whom you're in love.”
Alistair sighed and turned his head.
“Nothing will come of it. I won't make a move on him. I've gone for years as Director of Ballet Academy and the only boy I've touched is the most damaged boy I've ever seen, though I think he actually benefited from my love.”
“Isn't that what attracts you?” Jonathan asked softly, “the damage? He reminds you of you?”
“It was a mistake, though.”
Alistair looked down at his lap and thought for several seconds before he said, I've made a difference in Rafael's life. I've shown him that love doesn't always comes with strings, that he can actually trust people.”
“Do you really think The Gazelle will prove to him that he's the dancer he is?”
“I pray to the God in whom I never believed that it does. I want him to truly understand what a magnificent dancer he is and what potential he has. Rafael knows he's good...”
“Just ask him.”
Alistair frowned and said, “The diva in Rafael is a reflection of his self-doubt. He needs to fully understand, without the arrogance and conceit, that he is special, that he can truly be one of The Greats. I hope that when he dances The Gazelle at the September Spotlight and the audience goes mad for him, that he will realize, truly understand what a special dancer he is.”
“I'm looking forward to seeing his face when you tell him.”
Alistair smiled and nodded before leaning his head back and closing his eyes.
“So, what's so special about the new boy?”
Alistair opened his eyes and pointed to the desk. “His file is over there. Read it.”
Jonathan nodded and heaved himself up to his feet. He stepped over to the desk and gazed at the manilla file labeled, “Fenwick, Jeremy David.”
“I love his name—Jeremy Fenwick,” Jonathan remarked. “It makes him sound like a sweet, mischievous little scamp. Like he's an elf.”
Alistair simply sipped his iced tea and watched Jonathan's face as he opened the file and saw the first photograph, the school picture of Jeremy. He gasped, “Oh, my God.”
Jonathan picked up the file and carried it back to his chair, his eyes never leaving the picture. As he sat down, he said, “His smile...those eyes... those freckles...he's the sweetest looking boy I've ever seen. He's just too cute.”
Alistair nodded and said, “And, he's as good a dancer as he is beautiful. He has potential. He can be up there with Rafael. He can be better than Rafael. In some ways, he already is.”
“You're going to make him a star.”
“Yes, I am.”
“As you're fucking him?”
Alistair looked away. After a long pause, he replied, “No. I may want to, and God knows I could jump at the chance, but I won't. I've trained hundreds of boys, maybe thousands, and Rafael is the only boy with whom I've let my weakness get the best of me. And, then, it was only because his own sexual obsession was just too much or me to resist.”
Jonathan flipped the photo over to reveal Jeremy's audition photo, the picture showing his arabesque. “As far as I know,” Alistair continued as Jonathan gazed in amazement at the picture, “Jeremy has no history like Rafael's. He's a reasonably normal kid who just happens to be the most amazing twelve-year-old dancer in the country.”
Jonathan looked up and said, “So, you're falling in love with him. Why?”
Alistair took a sip and replied, “One night, when I was twelve, back when the Academy was still over on Madison, before we moved to Ballet Centre, I was practicing by myself. My father was a brutal task-master and forced me to dance hours longer than the other trainees and I was exhausted. I was in terrible pain and as lonely and desperate for love or friendship as I had ever been. Well, the window was open and it had been raining that night. I had stopped dancing and was sitting on the window sill. There was a radio on somewhere and it was set to the old WEAF, which was playing a concert from some band doing Glen Miller songs in a ballroom in a nearby hotel. I seldom had a chance to hear any popular music. Dad forbade it, but the radio was playing Glen Miller's 'In the Mood,' which I just loved. I could imagine dancing endlessly to that song. Well, as I was listening, I looked down on the sidewalk and there was this boy about my age, with red hair like mine, wearing work pants and a work shirt, and he was walking by the school and then, all of a sudden, he started dancing, right there, under my window, to 'In the Mood.' It was the strangest thing, but it was beautiful. He was dancing with such energy and spirit and I immediately fell in love. I wanted to be his friend. I wanted to run downstairs and get to know him, but before I could move, the song ended and the boy simply moved on. I sat there, in the window, leaning out, and watched him until he was out of sight.”
Alistair paused and took a sip of his Scotch before resuming.
“From that night on, I imagined that boy as my friend. We would dance together to all the swing hits, we would picnic in Central Park, we would take the subway up to the Bronx to watch the Yankees or over to Brooklyn for the Dodgers. And, at night, we would sleep together and make passionate love until dawn. I called him Jeremy in my mind and whenever I was sad or anxious or lonely, whenever my father was beating or raping me, I would imagine I was with Jeremy.”
Jonathan shook his head and said, “So, now, you see Jeremy Fenwick as the reincarnation of your dancing Jeremy from twenty-seven years ago.”
“Yes. No. No, I don't. Maybe. I don't know,” Alistair replied.
“The Great Mountjoy is confused.”
“Yes. I've seen the real Jeremy dance and he's sublime and, physically, he's the perfect boy. But, there's nothing wrong with him, emotionally, and if I were to...pursue him, I could do damage that I couldn’t undo. So, all I can do is love him secretly and work with him and nurture him and...dream of him.”
Jonathan cynically studied the man as Alistair continued . “If it weren't for my terrible childhood...”
“Oh, God,” Jonathan muttered. “If I hear one more queen whine about how terrible their childhood was, how awful their parents were, how they were bullied and beaten in school...”
“It's true and you know it!” Alistair exclaimed angrily.
“Yes, it is. Every homosexual, every homosexual puts up with bullying and hatred. We've all had terrible childhoods. That's just life. Maybe someday, things will improve, but for now...yes. We've all had terrible childhoods, but for God's sake, let's put it all behind us and move on and quit obsessing over it.”
“Jonathan, how often have you heard me mention my childhood?” Alistair demanded.
Jonathan took a deep breath and said, “All right, you don't whine about it as much as others. Still, we've all had crappy childhoods, Alistair, but we deal with it and we move on.”
“I believe I have moved on quite well,” Alistair replied stiffly. “After all, I'm Artistic Director of one of the greatest ballet companies in the world. I run one of the finest ballet schools in the world. I have created great ballets. My dancers and trainees adore me. I think I've done pretty well at putting the past behind me.”
Jonathan nodded and said, “Yes, you have. I just don't want you to lie to yourself or use the past as an excuse to do something you know you shouldn't or can't do. Jeremy Fenwick is not your mythical Jeremy from your childhood and I don't want to see you try to make him fill that void, because you will fail and it will deeply hurt both you and him. Either the real Jeremy won't like the music you have imagined he would like, or he won't feel the same way about you, or he will not have the same personality or, God forbid, he's simply an individual who doesn't conform to the image you've created.”
Alistair sipped the last of his tea and rose from his chair. He walked over to the side table as Jonathan added, “Yes, I've picked up gay teenagers and have had wonderful times with them, but I've also known men who have fallen in love with teenage boys. Alistair, this isn't ancient Athens. Our society does not accept this, no matter how irrational that dislike may be, but there is some merit to that societal concern. The men I know who have fallen for boys invariably are damaged souls themselves who are trying to relive some golden moment from their youth, or trying to rewrite their youth, or to regain their youth, or trying to vicariously live through their beloved. Sometimes, the relationship works, when the man and the boy enter into it with their eyes open and neither is trying to satisfy some deep, existential angst. But most of the time, it ends in failure and with both the man and the boy deeply wounded. Don't let your feelings for this boy grow to consume you, Alistair. Don't let Jeremy Fenwick take control of your emotions. Train him as a dancer, educate him, nurture him. Love him from afar, but do not take him to bed. If you do, this will not end well for either him or you.”
Alistair held the tea pitcher as he looked at Jonathan. Slowly, he offered it and his guest shook his head. He set the pitcher down and returned to his seat.
“You feel, Alistair, and sometimes you feel too much,” Jonathan said. “You put your feelings into the dances you create and that's one of the reasons they are so beautiful and meaningful, why people acclaim them so. It's a curse as well as a blessing.”
Alistair took a deep sip of his tea and sighed heavily before he said, “People like us, people at the top of whatever profession we're in, in whatever creative world we may inhabit, those of us at the top tend to think the rules are different up here, the rules are different for us, or don't apply to us, when in reality the rules aren't different and they do apply to us. It's so easy to get into a mindset that excuses certain behaviors. We're just as human as those who only stand and wait.”
“Thank you, John Milton,” Jonathan replied with a smile.
Alistair smiled and said, “Just don't let anyone know that the Great Mountjoy is mortal.”
“Don't worry,” Jonathan replied. “The ballet world would collapse.”
They were speeding along the Long Island Expressway, the Porsche cutting in and out of traffic. Jeremy squealed with delight. Conrad smiled at the boy's joy and his hand subconsciously fondled the knob on the stick. He passed a semi and gunned the engine, he laughing as Jeremy threw his arms into the air and yelled ecstatically. The boy laughed and turned to watch Conrad's laughing face.
Conrad. Jeremy was in love. He was the most beautiful man in the world, even more beautiful than Alistair Mountjoy. His white blond hair flying about his head in the wind, the ice-blue eyes behind the aviator sunglasses, the high cheekbones, the firm chin, the confident smile... yes, he looked like a Viking. The arm resting on the door and holding the steering wheel, the other holding the stick shift, he looked so confident and in control. Jeremy imagined him on stage, leaping through the air, his arms and legs perfectly parallel to the stage, his muscles so perfectly accented by his tights and leotard, and he felt himself grow fiercely hard in his shorts. Yes, Jeremy loved Rafael, but this man was... he was a man. He was a god!
Conrad turned his head and found Jeremy's face looking at him. He smiled at him and removed the boy's sunglasses long enough to gaze at the face for a few seconds before slipping them back on. He smiled and then chuckled.
“It's interesting,” he yelled over the roar of the engine and the wind, “that we both chose the same clothes to wear—a white Izod, khaki shorts, Topsiders. It's like we both think alike.”
Jeremy grinned with delight behind his sunglasses. He admired the handsome man and it seemed unimaginable that a man such as he would be interested in a boy such as Jeremy in any way, whether sexual or as a mentor. Jeremy suddenly felt a sob catch in his throat and a look of alarm came over Conrad's face.
“What is it, Little Man?” he asked quickly.
“It's just...you know, I've been through so much, losing my parents and having to give up ballet because of my crazy uncle, but I've been so lucky, too. I mean, Rafael came back to Greensburg and he didn't have to help me. I was a nobody to him, but when he found out what had happened to me, he felt he had to do something. And, now you. I'm just some kid who's going to audition for Ballet Academy next month and you, this amazing, fantastic man, one of the greatest dancers in the world, you want to help me. I...”
He turned his head and looked to the side of the road as they neared the end of the LIE in Central Islip, overcome with emotion. Conrad released the stick shift and took Jeremy's left hand in his. He squeezed it and Jeremy turned.
“I've been so emotional the last couple of days,” Jeremy said as Conrad released his hand and downshifted. They left the freeway and turned onto Highway 78. “I just couldn't believe that I was practicing yesterday at Ballet Academy and now, I'm riding out to Alistair Mountjoy's home in the Hamptons with one of the greatest dancers in the world. I mean, I'm just this kid from Greensburg, this kid from Breckenridge Middle School, and... here I am. It's all a dream and I'm so scared I'm going to wake up and it'll all be over and I'll be back on the west side of the river with Uncle Jimmy Dale and...”
Conrad watched him as he shifted his gaze back and forth from the road to the boy, trying to discern if Jeremy had a tendency toward occasional melancholy or if this was simply a result of his recent traumas and crises. Either way, he decided it was best to change the subject and discuss something positive and upbeat.
“So, tell me, Jeremy, what are your favorite ballets?”
As if awakening from a bad dream, Jeremy looked at Conrad with confusion for a moment before he smiled and took a deep breath.
“Well, Nutcracker was the first one I ever saw and its the first one I ever performed in. I was Fritz two years, like Rafael. I was also the Mouse King the second year, but it's not one of my favorites. Nutcracker doesn't really have much... it doesn't... it's not...”
“I know what you mean,” Conrad said with a smile. “It's not a difficult ballet to perform and its doesn't have as much emotional depth as some others.”
Jeremy nodded enthusiastically and replied, “Yeah! That's it! Unfortunately, the only ballets I've ever seen are the ones Greensburg Ballet performed. I like Coppélia and Swan Lake. Peter Pan was fun. I liked that. I'd like to see Romeo and Juliet. Greensburg's going to do it this season. That'll be cool because last year was the first time it was ever performed in the United States. I can hardly wait to see Le Corsair. I love stuff about pirates.”
“You know that Mario de Stefano and I are alternating as Conrad,” the dancer said with a smile.
“Oh, yeah! I know. You'll be the best,” Jeremy declared loyally as Conrad smiled. “I think Alistair should create a ballet about Vikings. You'd be perfect as a Viking chieftain. You look just like a Viking.”
“You think?” Conrad asked with a grin. “I think you may have an idea there. You should mention that to Alistair. Jonathan Durham's going to be there and you three can share ideas on the choreography and the music.”
“Oh, they wouldn't listen to some kid like me.”
Conrad raised an eyebrow and said, “Hey, you know ballet. You're opinions are as valid as anyone else. Let's think about this. What do you think would be a good story?”
Jeremy pressed his lips together and thought for a moment before his face lit up and he said, “It could be about Lief Erickson discovering America! And the Viking god of the sea. Who was that?”
Conrad smiled and said, “The Norse god of the sea was Aegis, who was a giant.”
“Cool, and he could help Lief Erickson sail across from Greenland and maybe Thor could be in it, too!”
“Good, good! I think I'd rather be Thor, though.”
Jeremy giggled and said, “You're too beautiful to be Thor. You'd be great as Lief Ericson, standing on the prow of your Viking longboat and leading your Viking army to take the new lands in America.”
Conrad smiled and asked, “You really think I'm beautiful?”
Jeremy blushed deeply and looked down at his lap before he softly said, “Yes, I do.”
Conrad reached over and squeezed Jeremy's hand, replying, “I couldn't hear you over the engine and the wind. What did you say?”
Blushing even more, Jeremy looked up and said in a louder voice, “Yes, I think you're beautiful. I think you're the most beautiful man I've ever seen.”
Conrad looked ahead for a moment and then turned back to the boy with emotion and replied, “Thank you, Jeremy. That means a lot to me. And I am being perfectly honest when I say that you're the most beautiful boy I've ever seen.”
Jeremy looked at him with a worshipful face, but was unable to reply. Conrad looked into the boy's eyes and then turned back to the road as he said, grinning, “If you and I ever dance before an audience, they won't know what to do with the most beautiful man and the most beautiful boy in the world. Whom should they look at, after all?”
Jeremy smiled and relaxed, grateful for the comic relief at that moment.
“So, who would be the antagonist?” Conrad asked. “Every story needs conflict. What's the struggle in the story going to be about?”
And, as the German race car sped down Highway 78, the two plotted and discussed their ideas, enjoying the creative process and getting to know the other better through the act of devising and conceiving a new story. In fact, Jeremy was so consumed with the conversation that he was surprised when, as they headed east on Highway 27 and were passing through the north side of Southampton, Conrad said, “It won't be long now. This is Southampton and in a few minutes, we'll pass Bridgehampton and then come to Amagansett.”
“This doesn't seem too fancy,” Jeremy remarked as he looked at the barren land. “It looks like just normal farms.”
“It is,” Conrad replied. “The beaches are over there to your right a few miles.”
“I thought the Hamptons were really nice and everything.”
“Trust me, you will see some nice places. Some of the wealthiest people in America have homes out here.”
Jeremy looked around as the car sped on along the two-lane highway. After a while, they crossed a bridge and Conrad said, “We're getting close. This is Water Mill.”
And, to his right, off the highway, Jeremy saw what appeared to be an old-fashioned Dutch windmill. They passed through a quaint little town with a small, classic, white, wooden church with a cemetery and then past several miles of occasional large nineteenth-century wooden houses. Passing through Bridgehampton, Conrad suddenly asked an unusual question.
“So, Jeremy, have you ever had a girlfriend?”
Jeremy looked at him with surprise and said, “No. Um, you know I'm gay, don't you?”
“Oh, yeah. I know that,” Conrad replied with a smile. “But, in ballet, some of the gayest dancers sometimes have girlfriends for a variety of reasons. I was just curious. You've never had an interest in girls?”
“Um, well, uh, no,” Jeremy replied, feeling uncomfortable.
“I'm not trying to embarrass you,” Conrad said. “I'm just curious about your feelings. You won't have a problem with partnering, will you?”
“Oh, no,” Jeremy replied with relief. “Rafael's taught me a big lesson about that. All the girls love him, even though he's as gay as a goose,” the boy said with a grin, remembering the phrase Conrad had used the day before in describing Dmitri Koronov.
“And, why do the girls as love Rafael?”
“Because he's beautiful and because he treats them with respect and because they know he won't try to do stuff with them. Dylan says he's just one of the girls, but I think its more than that. It's because he respects the girls and treats them nice. And, he knows how they think so he can do partner work better with them. I want Rafael to teach me how to be that way, too. I want to be the best at everything I do and if I'm going to be the best at partner work, I have to know the girls and how they think and I need for them to trust me.”
Conrad nodded and said, “Excellent. Excellent. I think you've got a great attitude and a good, solid friend in Rafael. I think he's a good influence for you.”
“I hope so.”
Conrad paused and then said, “I am curious. Jeremy may I speak frankly?”
Jeremy frowned, but nodded.
“Everyone at Ballet Academy and everyone in Ballet of America knows that Rafael is a magnificent dancer and probably the best dancer in training right now.”
“And, everyone loves Rafael. No one really dislikes him. We all love Rafael.”
Jeremy was growing uncomfortable, waiting for Conrad to say, “But...”
“But... everyone also knows Rafael is... very into sex.”
Jeremy knew where this was going and immediately cut in. “I know all about that. I know that Rafael was molested by his stepfather and it was awful and that the experience turned Rafael into... well, it made Rafael like crazy for sex and I understand and I love him anyway because I know Rafael would never, ever hurt anyone. Never. Yes, he really loves sex and I understand and if Rafael wants to do it with other guys, that's okay because...”
He held up his yin pendant and said, “I have this yin pendant and Rafael has the yang pendant. It means we are two halves of one whole, like the Ancient Greeks who thought that men were cut in half and when we fall for another man, we're finding the other half. Rafael and I are united and we always will be and it doesn't matter who we are with or what we do with them. As long as we have these pendants on, we are still united with each other. We love each other and I won't get jealous if Rafael wants to do it with others.”
Conrad nodded and said, “I'm impressed.”
Jeremy nodded and added, “I love Rafael and that means that I accept everything about Rafael. But, I don't think Rafael's going to be as sexy-crazy now as he was before. I know he'll still do stuff and that's okay, but I don't think he's going to do it as much. But, if he wants to, that's okay. I understand.”
Conrad nodded and said, “I think you're a very special person, Jeremy. There aren't very many people who would be so understanding.”
Jeremy shrugged and said, “I know he loves me and I know he'll always love me.”
Conrad nodded and then glanced to the side as he carefully asked, “So... what about you?”
Jeremy suddenly suspected where the conversation had been leading and he felt a growing panic on this inside. One the one hand, he could sense his parents looking down at him from Heaven and shaking their heads with disapproval at the excitement he was feeling. On the other, he didn't want to discourage Conrad if, as Rafael suggested, he might want to have more than just a mentoring relationship. He wanted to let the man know that he was interested, but not that he was... a slut. Still, above it all, even if his parents were watching him from Heaven, he still wanted Conrad. He wanted to feel the man hold him. He wanted to feel the man's strong body. He wanted them to kiss. He wanted...
The realized he had been ruminating for a while. He looked at Conrad and swallowed before he smiled.
“I love Rafael and I would never, ever do anything to hurt him. But, we had a talk last night when we put these pendants on. I know that no matter what he does, he still loves me and he knows that no matter what I do, I will still love him. I won't mess around with the guys in the showers like everyone else does and I won't be looking for guys to do it with and I told Rafael that. He said its okay if I do and I understand that I can, but I won't.”
Conrad nodded solemnly and Jeremy felt a surge of panic as he feared he was giving him the wrong message. How should he say this without being too forward? And, what if Conrad actually didn't to do it with him? What if he was misunderstanding all this?
Jeremy took a deep breath and said, “If I meet someone special, though, someone who is beautiful and wonderful and smart and good and a fabulous dancer, and I like them and they like me, well, I can maybe, well, you know, be close to them and... well...”
Conrad said nothing. He smiled and glanced to the side as they left Bridgehampton and the road became rural once again. Jeremy wasn't sure if he should say something else. He wanted to encourage Conrad, but he didn't want to sound like a floozy!
He took another deep breath and said, “Rafael tells me that sometimes guys at Ballet Academy have a boyfriend and a man-friend and he said that I might find a man who wants to be my man-friend and, well, I think it could be nice if I did.”
Conrad's smile grew wider as he watched the empty road before him, though he remained silent. Jeremy watched him expectantly, hoping, praying—or he would have been praying if what he wanted wasn't so sinful!—that Conrad would say or do something to indicate that he wanted to do something with Jeremy. He was smiling. He hadn't said no. He was smiling...
Jeremy took a deep breath. Maybe it was all right. He was smiling. Maybe this just wasn't the time. Maybe he should say something else. Maybe he should do something. Should he reach over and touch him, hold his hand, kiss him? Maybe he should make a sign that he was willing...
He grinned, remembering the scene in David Copperfield when the cart driver, Mr. Barkus, asked young David to tell his housekeeper, Peggoty, that “Barkus was willing.” How could he convey to Conrad that Fenwick was willing?
He looked to his right at the suddenly flat farmland between Bridgehampton and East Hampton. He slowly leaned down in his seat and spread his legs as wide as the narrow space would permit. Maybe Conrad would reach over and...feel him!
He waited a moment and then slowly slid his hand down over the hardness in his shorts. He stifled a moan at the wonderful feeling, the exciting feeling of doing something so illicit, so dirty, so nasty in front of another person, in front of one of the greatest dancers in the world!
They were passing the quaint houses along the road in East Hampton and Conrad was slowing down as they came to a three-way intersection. As the man turned left, Jeremy slowly pulled his hand back as a wave of mortification came over him. Conrad hadn't responded. Jeremy had completely misread the situation! This wasn't what Conrad was interested in! He wasn't interested in sex! He really did want to be just Jeremy's mentor! Oh, God! What had he done?
As the car accelerated again, this time heading north past the town green, the huge Episcopal church, and the turn-off to Sag Harbor to the northwest, Jeremy closed his eyes tightly as he sat up in the seat and closed his legs. What an idiot! What a doofus! What a dork! God! How could he have been so dumb, so perverted?
He could feel the tears forming in his eyes again. Great. Just what he needed right after making the biggest fool of himself in front of such a great and renowned man as Conrad Hartsfeld! Now, he was going to add the indignity of being a bawling crybaby on top of it all! He had cried over practically everything for the last week and now, after showing Conrad Hartsfeld what a pervert doofus he was, now he was going to cry like a woosie.
They were driving slowly through heavier traffic along a two-lane street lined with shops and galleries and restaurants and sidewalks full of tourists. Jeremy struggled with a trembling jaw not to cry as he rested his right elbow atop the door and placed his fist against his lips. He was grateful he was wearing sunglasses so that Conrad couldn't see his crybaby tears.
They passed large, old houses with wide lawns again until the road curved to the right after passing another old-fashioned windmill on the left and a weathered, brown wooden church. A moment later, however, as they neared an intersection, Jeremy was stunned to feel Conrad's hand lay atop his left arm and then gently slide down it to his hand. Jeremy jerked his head to the left and looked at Conrad with shock.
The man was smiling at him as he took Jeremy's hand in his, twining his fingers through Jeremy's. They drove through the intersection and accelerated some as they passed more large, wooden houses. Jeremy didn't know what to think, what to do, how to act. He didn't understand. Was Conrad upset with him? Was Conrad letting him know everything was all right? What was happening?
A moment later, he felt Conrad slowly lift his hand up and toward him and as Jeremy turned his head to watch, he saw the man smile before turning his head back to the road and bringing the boy's hand to his lips. Conrad kissed the back of Jeremy's hand, not once, not twice, but three times before he carefully placed the hand back in Jeremy's lap and then took the stick shift in hand to downshift for a moment.
Jeremy relaxed. He lay his head back and turned it to the left to gaze at the beautiful man who glanced over at him and smiled.
I hope you are enjoying my story. Please let me know at: frthnkr1957nifty <at> gmail <dot> com