By Paul Jamison


Chapter – 10

Liam’s viewpoint…

I returned to my room after supper and sat back down at my desk. After a few moments thinking, I got my mobile out and sent a text to Craig. It seemed like only seconds later my phone buzzed with a reply. I checked the answer and then made a call

“Hey,” I said when he answered.

“You said you needed to talk about your Dad, so talk,” Craig laughed back.

“Yeah, he’s been in touch. He replied to the advert I showed you and I’ve got his email address. I’ve just emailed him and… it’s wait for a reply time now, I guess,” I answered.

“What’ve you told him then?” Craig asked.

“Oh, just I had to leave home cos of mum and her stuff, and I’m living here with friends. I’ve not told him about us or anything about me being gay. I wouldn’t do that till you say it’s okay to,” I replied.

“I know. I’ve thought about it and I reckon if you want to tell him that’s okay with me. After all, we’re out to all those that matter to us, aren’t we?” Craig replied.

“Yeah, we are. Thanks, that’s what I was hoping you’d feel too. I want so much to tell him about the real me and that I’ve got a boyfriend too,” I said.

“See what his reply sounds like, and then…  You could send some of the canal holiday pictures to him next email if it sounds as if he’s going to be okay with all this?” Craig said.

“That’s a good idea. I’ll look out a few and have them ready. I think I’ll wait till after I’ve told him in my next email and got his reply before I’ll send any pictures though,” I added.

“Yeah, I think you might be right there,” Craig agreed.

“I’m excited about this, but I’m trying not to hope for too much. I mean, I just don’t know how he’ll take it all,” I explained.

“Yeah, that’s the hard bit. All the waiting around for replies and stuff. It’s even worse cos of the time difference. I mean it’s like middle of the morning over there right now isn’t it?” Craig replied.

I looked at my watch. It showed seven forty-five.

“Yeah, It’s like a quarter to nine tomorrow morning over there right now. Bet he’s in the office by now, or on the way to it,” I said.

Not likely to have seen your reply yet,” Craig said.

“Nah, not very. I mean, do we check our emails before going to school?” I replied.

“I don’t, well, hardly ever,” Craig admitted.

“Me neither,” I replied. “Right, I’d better get this English reading for Mr Stonebridge done now, or I’ll fluff his test, okay?” I said.

“Yeah, me too. I simply can’t fail English, Craig laughed.

“No, you can’t,” I laughed back. “I mean if you do, there’s no hope for me at all,” I added.

“Okay, bye, see you tomorrow as usual?” Craig said.

“Yeah, will do, byeeeeee,” and I rang off.

I spent the next ten minutes looking through all the canal pictures and selected three that I would like to send to my Dad if all went well over the next few rounds of emails. I then picked up my English reading and sat back to read the two chapters we were going to be spot tested on the following day.

At eleven I looked again at my emails and as there was nothing new, I shut down my computer and got ready for bed. I’d just gone into the bathroom to take care of teeth brushing and things when Will’s head appeared around the door to the bathroom from his room.

“Any reply yet?” he asked me.

“Nah,” I mumbled through a mouthful of toothpaste. I quickly rinsed my mouth and then said “It’s way too early. He’s at work right now. It’s tomorrow morning over there,” I explained.

“Oh right,” Will replied. “I knew there was a time difference, but didn’t know it was that long,” he added.

 “Yeah,” I said, “it’s a full thirteen hours ahead of us in our winter,” I explained as I replaced my toothbrush in the rack, dried my face and hands, and headed towards the door to my room.

“Oh, right,” Will answered, then added “Well, good luck anyway, Liam. Good night,” he said and turned back towards his room.

“Night, Will, and thanks… You know, for everything… I’ve not really said this before, but if I’d not known you and Jus through swimming, I think I’d still be a prisoner at my mum’s and committed to their reform camps every school holidays,” I said.

“Didn’t happen, did it?” he chirped back smiling.

“No, it didn’t. Mostly down to you,” I said.

Will coloured up as he did when embarrassed and just shrugged his shoulders before disappearing back into his room. I went back to mine and got ready for bed.

I pondered on just how much had changed since late August and how it was now only the third week of November and I already had a totally different life and a wonderful boyfriend. Mr Happy stirred and I grabbed a tissue and took care of it before slipping into a deep sleep.

* * *

In New Zealand

Jeremy Russell was enjoying a few minutes respite between meetings. He was very much looking forward to seeing Michael that evening at The Tap Room. He was not as sure yet as to exactly how much of his past he’d want to reveal. He was tending to think it had better be most of it, as in the long run secrets always had a knack of coming back to haunt you (later)… He glanced at his watch and mentally did a quick calculation. Turning to his computer he opened his personal fastmail email and it was with a mixture of excitement and a little trepidation that he scanned the list in his inbox. Sure enough there was one from Goodness, he thought… swimmerboy! What a username. He quickly opened the email and read Liam’s message. It must have been sent the previous evening their time, he thought. Jeremy re-read the message and then printed it off. He now had so many more questions running through his mind. What on earth had happened to cause him to be living with a ‘school friend’ and not at home with his mother? That was one big can of worms, he wondered. Dare he ask straight out why? Then he looked at the photo that Liam had attached that had been printed. Looking back at him from the page was a really good-looking mid teen with a gorgeous smile sat at his desk with the same red hair as his own, a definite family trait. It was certainly his son and eyes that had a very searching look, or so it seemed to Jeremy, as he studied the picture carefully. Wow! What a stunningly good looking boy he is, Jeremy considered as he looked at the face smiling at him from the printout. What have I been missing out on, he mused, then firmly telling himself that there was no other option open at the time and he still felt it was for the best. Perhaps, some, if not all of the damage caused by his six year absence could be repaired and a relationship resumed. He began to hope it might be possible. Liam appeared to be very open to that happening as he seemed to doubt his Mother’s version of past events. He again read the email through, paying attention to the paragraph about his having to leave home and a social worker being involved and on how on earth things had got to social services being involved and it looked like, lawyers too.  Plus, who were the friends he was now living with? Obviously a school friend from what Liam had explained so far in his email.

Just at that moment Christine, Jeremy’s secretary, buzzed through on the phone that his next appointment had arrived. Jeremy reluctantly put the printed off email into his briefcase and pulled forward the files needed for the meeting. Within a minute his client had been ushered into the office and the meeting proceeded.

Two hours later Jeremy closed down his computer and set about leaving the office for the day. He picked up his briefcase and went out through his secretary’s office out to the lift. Arriving downstairs he headed for the carpark and home. Once inside he quickly shed his clothes, showered quickly, shaved and dressed again. When ready, Jeremy sorted out the few bits of paper he wanted to take with him and slipping it into a blue folder picked up his keys and went back down to the carpark and set off into the city centre for his rendezvous.

As he entered The Tap Room bar and grill and glanced around the patrons. Jeremy saw Michael nursing a beer and almost with identical timing their eyes met and they smiled broadly at each other. He made his way over and they grasped hands and sat back down at the table Michael had cornered.

“What’ll you have?” Michael asked.

“Oh, just a beer, please, same as you. Thanks,” Jeremy replied.

Michael went to the bar and came back with a pint of beer of the seasonal summer ale that was very pleasant. After a couple of swigs Jeremy put his folder onto the empty seat next to him and they both relaxed for a few moments.

“Shall we order?” Michael said glancing through a menu as he spoke.

“Are you very hungry? Jeremy asked in reply.

“Actually, yes. I’ve had next to nothing today. It’s been so busy at work,” Michael replied.

“Same here, never stopped all day, grabbed half a sandwich at lunch and that’s about it,” Jeremy said.

“How about this? Chargrilled Pork Cutlet resting on a bed of creamy mash with honey cured bacon, sage and apple sauce, served with braised baby carrots, minted peas and red wine jus, at $29.50,” Michael read from the menu.

“Oh, yes please,” Jeremy replied. “That’s just what I need. I’m starved like you. It’s been so busy all this week,” he explained and continued “I’ll get these. You brought the steaks and wine over the other night, so this is my turn, okay?”

“Okay, if you’re sure? That’s great,” Michael replied.

Jeremy nodded as he placed the order for food and they both sat back enjoying the atmosphere relaxing with their beers for a few more minutes.

“So, what’s in your steamy past that you simply have to tell me about?” Michael enquired breaking into Jeremy’s own silent thoughts.

Jeremy took another draught from his beer and setting the glass carefully back on the table took a deep breath and spoke.

“About two months into my third year at university, I’d gone with a girl I knew pretty well and to be honest, rather enjoyed the company of, to a party one weekend. We both had too much to drink. We managed to get stranded there and crashed down for the night. The upshot was that within weeks I learned that she was pregnant and she assured me I was the cause through that drunken liaison. My parents were unhappy, but supportive. Her parents were of the ‘shotgun’ variety and were wanting me to ‘make an honest woman’ of their daughter. I felt I had more than some responsibility to do this, and although I was by then sure I was not of ‘the marrying kind’, I fooled myself into believing that it could work, simply because the chemistry had seemed to on that night and a child was on the way. I did like the girl a lot. I mean we’d hardly’ve been going to the party together if I hadn’t. We got married and for a year or so as I was establishing my career and she hers. She’d done business administration and had got a job at the local, but very large hospital group and was busy climbing the career ladder also. There didn’t seem to be too much time for sexual activity and with one boy already, we discussed and felt that another child would be too much for our child minding facilities… which basically was both sets of parents who pretty much looked after Liam until he was nearly five and off to school. Then my wife got religious to an extent that I simply didn’t agree with and we found ourselves growing apart and with little, if anything, in common, except of course for our son, Liam.” Jeremy paused and took a drink before continuing. “So, there we were in a loveless marriage, my wife going off in her own direction and me not too happy with all this. I began to go to a bar on the way home from work with a colleague of the same age whom I found rather attractive. This was one friendship I couldn’t very well explain at home either. After a couple of months or so I was persuaded to start a liaison with this guy… I know, it really did take me ages to get to admit to myself the fact that I was probably gay. I kept thinking… How could I be? I’d produced Liam, you see.”

“Oh, if I’d a dollar for everyone who’s said that over the years. I wouldn’t be working now,” Michael interrupted.

“Yeah, tell me about it. I so know that now,” Jeremy replied and continued. “So there I was with a sort of guy I had sex with occasionally and a wife and son at home. Career was fine, but home life wasn’t. My wife was wondering why there was no familial activity at all and I was just hedging away from the issue. There were rows and she was also more and more into the church activities she went to, as well. She took Liam of course, but I stayed away. Then on the Christmas after Liam’s tenth birthday my wife came to collect me from the office party and she saw the guy who I’d been having fun with kiss me goodnight. She said nothing until we got home. Then all hell broke loose and there were rows and recriminations for weeks. I offered her a divorce, but she had a religious objection to that to begin with. Eventually in the summer I got the offer of the junior partnership here based on the large amount of work I had already done for them from where I was in the UK. Anyway, the upshot was I told the wife about the offer, said I was taking it, and was she coming too. There were more rows, but eventually she said no, she was not and that I’d better just go and reluctantly she’d divorce me. I got a lawyer, she got one, and we did the necessary. Liam was ten and off at some weekend swimming event and I quietly left the UK that weekend. That was at her instigation, not mine. She wouldn’t have Liam involved in ‘my mess’, as she called it, at all. I sent him presents and cards for two birthdays, but after that my letters were returned to my old address. I rented a place when I first arrived here for two years before I bought the flat I’m in now. I lost touch with my son until something happened last week to bring the whole thing back into my life again.”

“Wow, I wondered what it could be. I’d not imagined a hidden family away in the UK. That’s for sure!” Michael said smiling. “So what happened that brought all this back to life, so to speak?” Michael asked.

Jeremy reached for the blue folder on the seat next to him and quickly opened it and took out the photocopied advert from The Press of the previous week that had caught his eye in the dentist’s.

“This actually,” he said as he placed it on the table in front of Michael and continued with “If I’d not had a dental appointment that day, I doubt I’d ever seen it as I don’t buy the paper as a rule,” he explained.

Michael picked up the photocopy and read through the advert. He glanced up at Jeremy and back to the picture in the advert before saying

“Well, it’s no doubt it’s you and I guess that has to be Liam then?”

“Yes, and yes. I was totally amazed when I saw that picture as I was arranging my next appointment. The receptionist had it open on her desk. I rushed back to the office and asked my secretary if she had the paper. She had, we flicked though it, found the page and she copied it for me. I came home and just wondered what on earth to do. Then I guess got very, very curious as to why Liam, not my wife, was making these enquiries and through a law firm too. So I checked on a few things and found out it was the same lawyers I’d used for my divorce… So, I made more enquiries and then I sent them my email address to be passed on to Liam with my permission and now today I got this first contact from him since the day I left.” Jeremy paused and reached into the blue folder, then passed over to Michael the printout of Liam’s email and attached picture.

Just at that moment their meals arrived and both settled down to eat. Michael read through the email, looked at the attached picture and passed back the printouts to Jeremy and said

“He’s one hell of a good looking boy. I can see where he get’s it from too. Michael paused to eat and after a few moments continued “But there’s loads more unanswered questions in that email, methinks.”

Jeremy laughed. “Methinks, you’re right on that one,” he replied.

“I mean, who’s he staying with for starters? Why’d he have to leave home and his mother? I might not have got on, or agreed with her, but she was an okay mum as far as Liam was concerned as far as I could see, for the first ten years, at least,” Jeremy said.

“That you’ll simply have to ask him. I note he said he was staying with ‘friends’ not staying with the ‘family’ of a school friend for instance. It might be me, but that turn of phrase seems different somehow. May be nothing to it of course,” Michael prattled away between mouthfuls.

“What’re you thinking?” Jeremy said in quick reply.

“It’s nothing really, just a stupid feeling I have. I’m sure it’s nothing. Just a turn of phrase that’s all. I think you may well have to tell him some things too, y’know, especially if you’re going to be asking him direct questions in your reply,” Michael said.

“Yeah, I’m beginning to think that too. Frankly, I’m not keen, but how else do I get to ask him stuff? I mean he’s just ‘found’ me again after six years or so. I don’t want to scare him right off with my revelations just yet,” Jeremy said.

“No, I completely take your point there. Ask him some questions and see how he gets round to answering them. In particular, about who he’s staying with and how that all happened. Oh, really push the fact you’ll be totally supportive whatever the reasons are, okay? I mean really emphasise that so he will feel able to ‘spill the lot’ hopefully,” Michael suggested.

“You’re wicked. Did you know that?” Jeremy laughed at Michael.

“What? Moi?” Michael laughed back.

“Yes, you, and you know exactly what I mean too. That’s plain saying nothing and asking everything,” Jeremy replied.

“Nooo, it’s not actually,” Michael protested. “I meant to really make sure you’ve got across that you don’t mind what the reasons were and they’ll make no difference to how you feel about him after all this time and you really hope he’ll understand about what you have to tell him too about your exit that weekend while he was away, six and a half years ago,” Michael explained.

“I know that. I’ve not been thinking about much else since his email arrived actually. Thanks, Michael, it’s been good to talk over all this stuff. It’s all been bottled up for years, you know,” Jeremy explained.

“I thought it might have been. I mean you told me just after we met that there’d not been any other boyfriend, just the one acquaintance. You weren’t telling porkies either. It never occurred to me to ask if there’d ever been a wife,” he giggled.

“Well if I’d come right out with that… what then?” Jeremy asked.

“I don’t know, and frankly, now I don’t think it matters. We as yet are still ‘seeing each other’ and there’s no more to it than that, yet… but I’m certainly hoping there will be, especially after this evening? Michael said as he inclined his face and raised his eyebrows in an expectant manner towards Jeremy.

“I was rather hoping that might be the case. I’ve felt that I’m ready for more than ‘just seeing you’. I’m glad you do too,” Jeremy replied.

“Okay, so Saturday we’ll go out and then perhaps back to my flat?” Michael enquired.

“Yes, I’d like that very much,” Jeremy replied.

“Thank you for trusting me with all that personal stuff tonight,” Michael said.

“I just needed to talk it through and I knew you were the right one to do it with,” Jeremy said quietly.

“Again, you didn’t have to… at least not yet. But, thanks for trusting me with it all the same,” Michael said.

The meal over, they asked for the bill and Jeremy settled up and after saying a quick goodbye till Saturday, both men made their way to their cars and drove home.

The moment Jeremy was in through the door he went into his little study and booted up his computer. While it was going through it’s machinations he padded though to the kitchen made himself a drink and returned and sat at the computer. Jeremy opened his email, read through once again Liam’s reply and clicked on reply. After a few moments thought he began to type. Some thirty minutes later he’d finished the final version of his reply and then looking through his picture files found a good recent picture of himself at a friends barbeque, smiling at the camera holding a beer and attached that for Liam to see how he was looking at thirty-seven years of age.

* * *

Liam’s viewpoint…

I’d overslept by some ten minutes and it was the banging on my door from the bathroom that brought me too with a jolt. I suddenly heard Will’s voice through the door

“Come on, Liam you’ve only twenty minutes till we get collected, you know.”

“Uuuurgh… Um, okay, thanks” I managed to grunt out as I scrambled out of bed and shot towards the bathroom door and straight towards the shower.

“The water’s not too hot yet,” Will called from his doorway.

Too late. I got a blast of barely lukewarm water as I stepped under the stream.

“Urrrgh,” again came from my general direction as I rather quickly snapped out of my raggedy performance that morning. A few moments later the hot water streamed through and I took a fast one minute shower. Grabbing my towel off the warming rail, I headed back to my room and forced myself into school uniform and within a minute or so struggled down the stairs with my school back pack and into the kitchen.

“Oh wow, who’s looking a bit the worse this morning?” Paul asked as Will looked on grinning widely from across the table where he was consuming toast, and marmalade, washed down with a mug of tea.

“Any tea made, Will? I asked.

“Yeah, I poured you one too as I thought you’d be a bit behind. Wassup this morning?” he asked.

“Dunno, I spent a long time reading last night for a test, then went to bed… wasn’t that late, but I had things on my mind, I guess,” I replied.

I’d gulped down the tea just as we heard the guys from down the road arrive at the kitchen door. It was Paul’s turn for the school run and he was already getting the car out as I had my breakfast.

“Hey guys,” Will said. They both replied the same and we all headed out to the drive and got in the car as soon as Paul sounded the horn.

A few minutes later we were picking up Justin who as usual barrelled out of his front door with a parting yell of “bye mum” the second we drew up at the kerbside.

“Had a reply?” Craig quietly asked me as we rode to school.

“No, well, I don’t know. I’ve not had time to look this morning yet,” I admitted.

“I overslept by a few minutes. I only just had time to get some breakfast before getting in the car,” I explained.

“Thought your hair was still wet. No time for the hairdryer then?” Craig observed grinning.

“No, hope it’s not freezing today,” I answered him back.

Craig touched my hair and grinned before replying. “No, it’s not frozen solid… yet anyway.”

I laughed back and in a few minutes more we were at school and heading in through the student entrance doors to our lockers.

We saw the twins just before we went into first period. They just grinned at us and hurried on to their class. The day really dragged from then onwards. Period after period seemed to be test work and I thought the day would never end. Even at lunch everyone seemed subdued and spent time glancing through notes and books for the afternoon tests that most of us had.

As soon as final bell went we streamed out and to the car park. Mrs Naylor was waiting for us all and we set off for home almost at once. Once back at home Jamie and Craig were about to walk back down to their house, but I turned to Craig and asked

“Will you come in for a while? I want to check my emails.”

“Yeah, sure, can’t stay too long though. Gran’ll have supper arranged, plus I’ve loads of homework tonight,” Craig replied.

Craig told Jamie to go on home and tell their gran that he’d be about half an hour. Jamie nodded and said

“Yeah, okay, I’ll tell her, but don’t be any later than that. You know how she is about being late for meals and stuff. Bye guys,” he said to Will and me, turned away and headed off down the road to their place.

I turned and headed towards the kitchen door with Craig behind me. We got inside and Will already had the kettle on for a brew. He turned round from the worktop where he was busy emptying a pack of biscuits onto a plate before saying

“Tea for both of you?” he asked as he opened the cupboard and began taking mugs down.

“Yeah, thanks Will,” I replied Craig nodded also.

Once the tea had been made Craig and I took our mugs and some of the biscuits on a plate and headed up to my room. Once there I set down my tea on my desk and switched on my computer. Craig set his down on the bedside cabinet, sat on my bed and flopped out. I took a couple of swigs from the tea and began to change out of my school clothes. I suddenly felt  Craig’s eyes on me and as I turned I saw he had a whopping bulge in the front of his school trousers.

“You’ll have to wait till the weekend to play. I’ve just got so much going on in my head at this precise moment that I can’t think of fun stuff just now.”

“I know,” he said grinning back at me. “I can’t help it though. When I see you undress like that… it just happens,” he giggled back.

“I know,” I relaxed into a smile. “You do it for me too, big time and you know it, don’t you?” I said.

“Yeah, I know how I feel. That’s why I’m here for you now,” he quietly replied getting up from the bed as he did and coming to me he snaked his arms around my waist. I was still in just my boxers at this point and drawing me close, kissing me deeply. That had exactly the effect he was hoping for and as we broke apart some of the tension lifted but the bulge in my boxers now matched the one in his trousers.

“You knew that would happen, didn’t you?” I mildly remonstrated.

“Yeah, but I needed a kiss just then,” he replied. “The rest will have to wait. Check you inbox, okay? I’ve not got long,” he added, smiling widely.

I turned back to my computer and opened my email. Sure enough there was one from With Craig looking over my shoulder I moved the mouse and double clicked to open the email.


End of Chapter 10.


By Paul Jamison

Many thanks to all who have emailed me. I think I have replied to you all. The story files are available at my group as usual.

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